It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (14/52), enjoy~
“I didn’t tell you this, but I was born with a skill called toxin resistance. It makes me resistant to things like a miasma.”
He immediately explained about toxin resistance. He couldn’t say that it was actually Toxin Degradation EX.
“Your Highness… Please never do something that makes my heart freeze like that again…”
“I’m sorry. But now that I have succeeded, please forgive me.”
“…I had something I wanted to say too, but oh well. It’s true that Ain saved our lives. But I didn’t know you could use it like that…!”
“That’s true. What you’re doing is a humanoid weapon…”
“Batz told me that the miasma has an effect on the raven butterfly, too. That’s why I used it.”
“…Aah! That’s what I was talking about yesterday!”
I can be useful, too. Batz proudly said while scratching the tip of his nose.
“But is it okay? Can I take all of these raven butterfly magic stones?”
“It’s fine. I don’t really have any use for it, and I’ve already had a magic tool made for me. How about you two?”
“Yes, of course. Roland is the second person who’s done the most work after His Highness.”
“It’s okay for me too. You did a great job!”
The magic stones from the raven butterfly are all given to Roland. Actually, one of them was secretly absorbed out by Ain, but the taste was so bitter that he could not bring himself to absorb any more.
So he decided to give all the rest to Roland, who had made the magic tool.
“Then, thank you… My allowance is just not enough, so I really appreciate it.”
His ears perked up, and it was obvious that he was truly happy.
(…It’s about time.)
As Ain walked, he searched for signs of his surroundings. The deep fog had cleared before he knew it, and the clear mountain road was surprisingly refreshing.
The four of them knew that their destination was near at hand, as no slime had appeared since the attack of the raven butterfly.
“We’re almost there, guys. That’s our destination ─ the place where Dill is waiting for us.”
“Eh? Ain, what are you saying all of a sudden…?”
“D-Dill-senpai is really there?”
It was just as he had imagined.
After passing through the forest, the four of them finally caught sight of the cape of their destination. There, Dill, who Ain had been worried about, was standing with a calm and collected face.
“A-A-A-A… Ain-kun!? What on earth is going on…?”
“…I only know a little about. So I think you should ask Dill for more details.”
Seeing Ain narrowing his eyes, Dill approached him with a downcast look.
“Your Highness, I’ve been waiting for you. The way you defeated the swarm with your quick thinking was very impressive. The other three were also able to make use of their talents, and I think it was an excellent team.”
Words praising everyone’s hard work came through, but Ain, whose gaze was as cold as ice, did not respond to Dill. The three people surrounding Ain gulped at the atmosphere and busily looked at each other with confused expressions.
“You know how much I worried about you?”
“…Yes. Immediately after I disappeared, His Highness was concerned about me and tried to find me. I was really touched by that. I am truly sorry.”
Bending his knees and bowing his head, Dill simply said a sincere apology and waited patiently for his Lord’s words as he continued to look at him coldly.
In the midst of a tense atmosphere, where a few seconds can feel like minutes, Ain exhaled loudly and said.
“I don’t think Dill planned this. You’re going to have to explain to me ─ no, explain it to everyone about what was going on.”
Ain made Dill stand up.
“Was it my grandfather who planned it? Or was it Warren-san? Or was it both of them?”
“──Well done. Your Highness.”
◇ ◇ ◇
Dill explained the story.
The time goes back to before the field trip, and the location is a room in the royal castle.
“What about Ain’s safety or the safety of the four of them?”
“It’s fine. I’ve arranged Chris-dono’s schedule, and the surrounding environment is fine.”
“…It’s going to be a tough trip. Both physically and mentally.”
“It will be a good experience. I know it’s a bit of a forced move… but it’s for Ain-sama’s growth.”
“That’s right. ──Now, let’s review this one last time.”
Dill will be assigned as an escort and will leave the scene halfway through.
After that, the knight order prepared a monster, and they want to make the crisis an ordeal to overcome. But safety is guaranteed. Warren had placed several of his covert agents around them, and Chris, the vice commander of the royal knight, was also nearby.
It was a bold but well-prepared plan that would not risk their lives no matter what.
“These three sheets are the “consent forms” we received from the other three families. They have no objections.”
“You’re not forcing them, are you?”
“Of course. I told them that we would guarantee their safety in Your Majesty’s name, and they agreed.”
“…Then, that’s fine.”
From Duke Fors for Leonardo and Baron Krim for Batz. Finally, Sylvird sees the signature of Roland’s father, who runs a workshop in the castle town. The preparations are complete, and all that remains is to wait for the day’s field trip.
The planned field trip was later relayed to Dill via Lloyd.
“You are saying I’m going to disappear halfway through?”
“Yes. It was a decision made by His Majesty and Warren-dono to give Ain-sama more experience.”
“So that’s what it is. It’s okay.”
“Hmm? You nodded quite frankly, didn’t you?”
“His Highness will be fine. It’s only the disappearance of one guard, and I think he can handle it calmly.”
Lloyd tilted his head as if troubled by his son’s words.
A week passed from that day, and Dill went to the forest as an escort for Ain’s team. One night passed, and the next day, as they stepped into an area where the fog was thicker, Dill sensed that this was the place to separate and disappeared.
His Highness is a smart man. He must be able to deal with it calmly… that’s what he thought at the time.
“Hold on… Dill! Answer me!”
It’s not that Dill is scared of what’s going on around him, but that Ain desperate to find him that makes him stop.
Is Your Highness worried about me? He couldn’t help but turn around.
“──Hey, Ain! Stop!”
“Why? Dill is missing!”
Ain said strongly. However, in this situation, Batz was right.
However, Dill’s eyes wavered at the sound of his Lord’s voice, “Why did he have to go through all that…?” He was almost speechless at Ain’s desperate attempt to find him.
As night fell, he hid himself with a magic tool and watched Ain from a distance. He climbed up the tree and took turns watching him so that he could rush to the rescue if anything happened.
──One time. Chris shouted, “No way…”
“Christina-sama? What happened?”
“…I think our eyes might have met, Ain-sama and me. Maybe it’s just my imagination.”
“It’s impossible. You’re using a magic tool to conceal yourself, and it’s dark…?”
“So I think it’s just my imagination, but… maybe he’s suspicious of the situation.”
And her prediction was correct.
The next day, when the fog thickened, and the raven butterflies began to move.
“…No good. We’ve been spotted.”
Her words startled everyone, including the covert agents and Dill. What’s more, Chris’s eyes and Ain’s eyes met, and he gave a small chuckle.
“That’s ridiculous… How in the world did His Highness do that?”
“I see, it’s because I’m a demi-human with a magic stone… so Ain-sama noticed the reaction and…!”
Ain had a feeling of discomfort since last night. And Ain has the power to search for signs of magic stones. It was the result of the combination of these two. From this point on, Chris gave up hiding and brought everyone closer to see how Ain would fight.
Finally, he killed the raven butterflies with the miasma, which was the end of the ordeal.
◇ ◇ ◇
“That is all. I apologize for any concern this ordeal may have caused you.”
Ain’s expression turned grim.
“Do you know how much you’ve worried me?”
From the mouth that exudes cold-heartedness, a voice that is even more domineering than the expression on the face says.
“…Your Highness. I am Your Highness’s guard. You should not worry too much, as a person who stands above──.”
“I didn’t ask you that. I asked you if you know how much you’ve worried me. That’s what I ask. I’m going to ask you again, do you know that?”
“E-even if Your Highness is worried about me, this is not your fault.”
“Okay. Dill didn’t know how worried I was about him.”
What about my grandfather? Ain pressed Dill further.
“I will also tell my grandfather that if he wants to do something to test me, he has to do it differently.”
“Your Highness! That would be against His Majesty…”
“I’m not mature enough to divide the people who have been guarding me all this time into mere boss and subordinate. If being able to divide is being an adult, then I don’t want to be an adult like that.”
Dill closes his mouth as Ain speaks with a lot of passion.
“If… If you do something like that again, I will come to your aid next time no matter what.”
“This won’t do. What if it wasn’t training? What if it was dangerous!”
“If you don’t like it, promise me. Promise me you won’t make me worry like that again, okay?”
In the past, Ain has never said this strongly.
This is the first time since Dill began to accompany him as an escort that he has ever done so.
Dill finally broke down as the three of Ain’s friends looked on anxiously.
“I lost. Yes, I am aware that I have caused more grief in His Highness’s heart than I could possibly imagine… and I am very sorry.”
“…I hope you understand. Ah, but since you are worrying me, can I ask you something?”
“I’m sorry, but I can’t accept your insistence on addressing you by your first name.”
“Oh, yes, yes! I thought so! I thought it would be okay now!”
In the end, Ain’s usual smile returned to his face, but he was disappointed by Dill’s answer.
“It is impolite to call you by your name to apologize. …So it’s a request from me.”
Then Dill knelt down.
“Your Highness ─ no, Ain-sama. I would like to thank you for your continued support.”
In contrast to his roundabout way of saying things, it made Ain’s face break easily. It was as if he was dumbfounded, but at the same time, he couldn’t hide his joy.
Feeling like they’re finally getting along, Ain stroked the corners of his eyes, which had tears in them from laughing so much.
“Hahaha… Ah, that’s funny. I’ve been trying to get you to call me by my name for a while now, and it’s a bit disheartening to hear you say it so simply.”
Ain reaches out his hand to Dill.
“──I’ve decided to forgive you for today. It’s just for today.”
“──Yes. Thank you.”
A hand that had been held out many times but never shaken because it was considered impolite. As soon as they grasped each other’s hands, they exchanged a spontaneous smile.