It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (16/60), enjoy~
Even in times like this, the water train is the fastest way to travel.
Ain returned to the White Rose, surrounded by the royal knights.
The available water train was only the regular one, and Ain was protected by a large number of royal knights. What is happening to the other passengers after seeing such a scene? They must have been wondering what was going on.
However, no one was able to speak to them due to the strange atmosphere they were in.
“The carriage is already prepared here.”
“Now, Your Highness. This way.”
The carriage that had been prepared was a specially made carriage pulled by four horses. The carriage is faster than the one Ain usually uses, and usually, only Sylvird uses this carriage.
It’s no exaggeration to say that the carriage is half dedicated to the king, and Ain also feels a strange increase in the atmosphere.
“…Let’s hurry up and leave.”
Ain got into the carriage in a hurry and hastened the departure. Hearing that, the royal knights mounted their horses and surrounded the carriage as it departed.
The carriage was running at a much higher speed than usual, and the royal knights of Ishtalika were surrounding the carriage. The sight of them was very unsuitable for the usual peaceful main street of the royal capital.
Ain was thinking inside the carriage. He wondered if perhaps his bad premonition from last night had come true.
The message came from Lloyd. That must mean that Lloyd was at the castle. As soon as he arrived, he had to ask Lloyd about it.
Ain stomped on the ground in the carriage, eagerly awaiting their arrival at the castle. To put it bluntly, if he had only heard that the knights were on their way to defeat the monster, he might not have been so worried.
It was because it was Chris who had been his guard all along and had trained him. He couldn’t help but think of her as the knight closest to him.
“Excuse the urgency! His Royal Highness, the crown prince, has arrived!”
They were arriving at the castle. There was no sound of condemnation for the royal knights who stopped the carriage and opened the door roughly. Even the civil servant, who would normally scold them, didn’t say a word.
“Your Highness! Welcome back!”
“Welcome back! Your Highness! His Majesty is in the Great Council Chamber!”
They welcomed Ain’s hasty return.
“All right. I’m on my way.”
It was terribly noisy inside the castle. Even so, the knights, servants, and civil servants all bowed their heads when they noticed Ain’s arrival.
However, the elegance they usually display is not in evidence today. The same goes for Ain, who hurries to the council chamber at a near trot. The knights following him were in a hurry as well, but there was no one to criticize them.
The heat and confusion outside the door, the loud voices of several people. But Ain didn’t care about that at all and opened the door of the council chamber without knocking.
──Then, in an instant, the council chamber regained its silence.
“Your Majesty, I’m back.”
Ain looked around the council chamber. Olivia is standing next to Sylvird, and Martha is standing to support her.
“…Umu. I’m sorry for calling you on such short notice.”
“It’s nothing to be concerned about. It looks like you’re in a meeting, but can someone explain to me what’s going on?”
This is the kind of person Ain usually doesn’t show. He has a strong attitude as if to say that he will not allow a single objection. The presence he gives off is exactly that of royalty.
“Come here. Everyone continues with the meeting!”
Sylvird called Ain closer.
Next to him, Warren and Lloyd are standing by with serious faces, unlike usual.
“I’ve returned after receiving Lloyd-san’s message. What exactly happened? I only heard that it was a dangerous monster, but…”
“I apologize for the inconvenience of this urgent message.”
Lloyd said, stepping in front of Ain.
“──It’s about the sea dragon. Off the coast of the port city of Magna, and even though I say off the coast, it has appeared nearby.”
Ain’s eyebrows moved up and down for a moment, and he guessed the meaning of those words. As he expected, the conversation he had heard last night had been about sea dragons.
“W-what about Chris-san… is she all right…?”
Ain’s pupils flashed like a polished sword.
Before Lloyd could answer, Olivia cried and approached Ain.
“Ain… Ain…! Chris is… Chris is──.”
“M-mother!? What’s happened?”
Olivia was so panicked that she mumbled a few last words. She clings to Ain’s chest and says, “Chris is going to die…”
“…What do you mean…?”
“Ain-sama. I’ll explain it to you from here on out.”
Warren, who was standing beside him, calmly interjected.
Ain placed his hand on the head of Olivia, who was crying on his chest and exhaled once to urge him to continue.
“Sea dragons are huge, bigger than Princess Olivia’s battleship. Therefore, it’s so powerful… and even more so, it’s violent.”
Ain knew this even without being told.
On the way back from the field trip, He had never experienced a greater fear in his life. He had never forgotten the bitter memory of being slumped over, shaking with the distinct fear of death, and fleeing inside the ship with Chris supporting him.
“I encountered a sea dragon on my way back from the field trip. I know very well how strong and terrible it is. But why did Chris-san have to go? Chris-san is the vice commander of the royal knight… It’s strange that Chris-san is being sent there!”
Warren nodded at his words, but his expression was dark and stern. There was only one thing that Ain couldn’t agree with, and that was whether Chris needed to go.
He knew very well that the other knights had families, but he had a special feeling for Chris, who was especially close to him.
“Warren-san, please answer me.”
As Ein finished, he noticed the sweat on Warren’s forehead. He was always so calm, but what was wrong with him?
“…It has become an unusual situation.”
What could be more unusual than the fact that a sea dragon had attacked? Ain gulped, and before he knew it, he too had sweat on his forehead.
In the meantime, Warren’s mouth announced despair that Ain had never thought possible.
“The sea dragons that appeared were… there were two of them.”
For a moment, Ain could not comprehend what he was saying. After a few seconds of rigidity, he finally managed to get it out of his mouth in a weak, powerless, and somewhat dull voice.
“…There are two of that huge sea dragon…?”
“To be honest. The damage will certainly be the largest ever. If we don’t take action, the entire port city of Magna will be turned into nothing. So, unless someone with advanced command skills…”
Ain understood the meaning of Olivia’s words now.
Even if the technology has improved, if there are two monsters that are worthy of national disaster, it is a different story. It’s not as simple as just doubling the number, and the difficulty of dealing with them will be much greater.
“Then… Why is Lloyd-san still here! There’s also His Majesty’s ship, so we need to send more forces…! It’s ridiculous to send Chris-san alone!”
“Ain-sama… Lloyd-dono should not move from here.”
“No way… why is that…?”
“The castle’s defenses will be thin in the event of an emergency. And while the royal ship is certainly a powerful weapon, it is only a solid target for the sea dragons…”
Ain turned over and kept his mouth shut.
Is there nothing I can do? He asked himself if he was just going to stay in the castle when Chris was in danger.
As long as the possibility of the crown prince’s death is considered, he would never be allowed to head into danger because he is the country’s future. But Ain couldn’t allow this situation to happen either.
“Ain! For the sake of Ishtalika, we have no choice but to let Chris deal with it…!”
What Sylvird said was not a mistake. As a king, he has not made a wrong decision, and it is the right thing to do.
The only question is whether it is acceptable.
(It is the duty of royalty to convince, but… I am…!)
The next thing he noticed, his legs were shaking slightly.
The fear of the too-powerful existence of the sea dragon is burned into his brain and will not leave.
(I don’t want to go. I am scared… There is no way I can beat that monster…)
There are two sea dragons that are even bigger than the giant Kraken, and they preyed on it without difficulty. His mind is filled with backward thoughts and far from Ain’s ideal: he wants to sleep like this and wait for the good news that Chris has returned.
He was also afraid of that.
What if he woke up and received the news that Chris had lost? This scared him more than anything.
He held his hand so tightly that his fingernails dug into it, turned over, and let the words escape.
The memories of their time together up until today come flooding back, and it hurts to think that they will never be able to have the same conversation again. His lips are dry, and his heart is beating so hard that he can feel it all over his body. He closed his eyes tightly, sweat beading on his hands.
He can almost hear the sound from his tight grip. He opened his eyes and looked straight at Sylvird.
Don’t tell me what you’re going to say. Sylvird appealed with his eyes. It took Ain more courage than he had ever had before to tell the rest of it.
He tried to loosen the tie of his uniform and felt his hands overlap with Chris’s. The tie that she had half-heartedly put back on this morning ─ Ain made up his mind and moved his lips.
“──I’ll go to Magna now, and I’m going to fight to stop the Sea Dragon.”
Ain turned to Sylvird and said that.
“What can you do by yourself, Ain? There is no way I’m going to allow that!”
“I know that, and I’m saying it. But I will use the power of the Dark Knight to fight.”
“…! I am now speaking to you as your grandfather! I have no intention of sending you into danger! Things are different now than with Wolf!”
“Yes, you are the crown prince… if anything happens to you. Your body is not only yours alone now!”
After Sylvird, Warren spoke to Ain to calm him down.
His behavior may be unbecoming of royalty, but that doesn’t stop Ain…
“The first king would not be silent in the castle like this. Therefore, I’ll go and fight the sea dragons like the first king who fought against the demon king.”
“…Ain-sama. No matter what happens, I’ll stop you from going to Magna.”
“Lloyd-san. But I can’t just sit here and be silent. Your Majesty… Grandfather! Please at least let me go to Magna!”
“You fool! Don’t make me tell you the same thing over and over again!”
If Ain went to Magna, it would not be enough. Sylvird doesn’t even want to allow him to go to a dangerous place in the first place.
“No…! I’m not going to let Ain go to a dangerous place like that…”
Olivia said with tears in her eyes, hurting Ain’s heart.
“Now, Olivia has said that. Ain, even though you’re the crown prince, you still say you want to go to Magna…!”
The dignity of a king that Sylvird exudes. The words pierced Ain’s body strongly, and the atmosphere attacked Ain like a whirlwind.
“…Yes! I’m not going to let Chris go alone, even so…!”
“…I see. Ain, I understand.”
This reply was just hope. His enthusiasm had been understood! A moment later, Ain’s lips began to loosen──.
“It’s no use trying to stop him. …Lloyd, I left the unpleasant role to you.”
Ain’s consciousness was cut off.
Lloyd, standing behind him, lowered his arm sadly.
“This is my job. Please don’t worry about it.”
“…Father? Why did you do that to Ain?”
“If I hadn’t done this, the crown prince would have followed Chris to Magna!”
“To use violence like this is unacceptable!”
Olivia’s eyes shot through Sylvird as her sadness turned to anger. She put Ain on her lap and put her arms around him protectively.
…She couldn’t hide her surprise, perhaps because she couldn’t believe that the people in the council chamber would use force.
“Martha, come this way.”
“…Yes. Anything you need.”
Martha, feeling nervous and confused, responded to Sylvird’s voice.
“Take Olivia to her room. Do not let her out until you have my permission! Lloyd! Take Ain to Katima!”