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Chapter 6 – The Return of The Crown Prince
The commotion at sea was over. The port town of Magna was filled with great joy. Even the absolute ruler of the sea, the Sea Dragon, and the mighty nation of Ishtalika are not immune to the damage caused by these vicious monsters ─ and this time, two of them had shown up.
The people of the port town of Magna, without exception, were trembling with fear. Nevertheless, there is a reason why the town is currently filled with tremendous cheers.
Despite the devastation, many members of the raiding party survived. Many of those who were thrown overboard were rescued and returned to the port city. In addition, the team brought back the corpse of the sea dragon. They tied them up and forcibly dragged them to the port.
The people were surprised to see the large, overwhelming aura of the sea dragons, but they were even more delighted when they witnessed the fact that two of them had been killed.
In the midst of such festivities, on the deck of the Glacier family’s ship, a beautiful woman was holding a boy in her lap, waiting for him to wake up. Her eyebrows were lowered anxiously, but the corners of her mouth lifted as he opened his eyes.
“Hmm, this is…”
“You’re awake. Stupid crown prince?”
The boy opened his eyes and looked in the direction of the gentle, clear voice.
“Hello. It’s been a while, Chris-san.”
Chris’s eyes were red and bloodshot, and the area around them was swollen. Seeing this, Ain understood that Chris had been crying.
“Don’t hello me. Ain-sama…!”
Chris was not as dignified as usual, and her true self was coming out a little.
“It’s terrible to be called stupid. I’m still the crown prince, after all, but…”
“You can say whatever you want. Stupid, idiot!”
In contrast to her beautiful appearance, Chris exuded a bit of femininity, which made Ain think she was a bit cute. At the same time, he felt that he was still alive.
“But it seems that I managed to come back. I thought it was over, but…”
“…Look at your chest.”
“Um, my chest?”
In the past, Warren had given him an accessory to protect his body, the Crimson Jade, which was supposed to be attached to his chest. However, the Crimson Jade seems to have been shattered to pieces and is nowhere to be seen.
“Huh? The crimson jade is broken.”
“That stone has the property of activating when your life is in danger. That’s why Ain-sama didn’t drown in the sea and managed to stay alive until he came to the surface…!”
Ain had heard of the fact that it can be activated when there is danger. He thought it was great to hear that it had such a function, but the crimson jade was already broken protecting him.
“I see. That’s why I was saved.”
“You can’t really… do something like that again. Please… never ever do that again, okay…?”
“Ah, yeah… Well, it doesn’t happen all the time, and I think I’m okay now.”
She was glad that Ain had come to save her. Chris was so happy to lend her lap to the opposite sex, even if it was Ain, but her frustration was different.
“Besides, I heard from Dill. You even used the royal decree and came at us with the force that can crush the royal water train.”
“…He needs a sermon.”
“N-no, it’s not! I think Ain-sama is the one who needs a sermon!”
He was indeed aware that he pushed himself too hard today. But being lectured by Chris now was going to make him tired, so he wanted to avoid it somehow.
“W-well, well… Ah! By the way, you brought the corpse of the sea dragon, too, huh… It’s so big!”
Even from Chris’s lap, he could see the huge body of the sea dragon nearby. The power of the body was astounding, even though it was just tied up with a string.
“Y-yeah… after what you did, you’re still surprised by its size now?”
“I didn’t really care about the size of it at the time…”
“Hah… That’s okay. Also, the entire body of the sea dragon is a valuable material.”
He was convinced when he heard that. Since it was such a powerful monster, even its bones could be used.
“Ah! That reminded me. Chris-san, I have something important to tell you!”
“What’s so important about…? Are you still having problems with your body…?”
“The magic stone of the sea dragon was really delicious.”
“Hey, Chris-san? Why are you silent?”
It was an incredibly delicious meal. He wanted to tell her about it, but…
Chris is losing color in his eyes and looks down at Ain with a cold expression.
“…You are stupid crown prince, Ain-sama!”
Ain looked back in frustration as he was lightly poked in the head with a pinch.
“No, no. It was important to me, you know! Good grief Chris-san… why do you deny it so bluntly…”
“H-huh? Why are you making it sound like I’m in the wrong?”
Ain’s words caused Chris to lose her strength, as if emotionally drained. But soon, the two of them looked at each other and smiled softly as if to indicate that they were on the same page.
“…Let’s go back to the castle. Everyone is waiting for us.”
“Yes. I’ll make sure to protect the stupid crown prince.”
◇ ◇ ◇
It had been a little while since Ain had woken up on Chris’s lap. In the main conference room of the castle, there was a lot of talk about the sea dragons and about Ain.
“Was there a problem with the education I had given him? Or was it the fault of Olivia? Or was it because of a bad environment…? What do you think, Warren?”
“I would also add his birth country to that list.”
“I see. You have a point.”
In the midst of all this tension, good news arrived.
“Your Majesty. Pardon the intrusion.”
Although Warren, the ministers, and the important figures were all present, the butler approached Sylvird directly, and the butler himself, with a look of surprise on his face, whispered in his ear.
“…A-are you sure?”
“Yes. This is a report received from the commander.”
“Oya, Your Majesty? What happened?”
Warren wondered when he saw Sylvird’s slightly dazed face. Sylvird doesn’t answer him but turns to Lloyd, who stands on the other side.
“It’s about the punishment or reward. That is why I am troubled. I’m worried about the punishment for Ain and Dill.”
Lloyd wondered what was troubling him. Even if Dill were to return, there was only one punishment. There was no other punishment but execution.
“What is it that bothers you? There is only one punishment…”
Before he could reply to Lloyd, Sylvird clapped his hands to draw attention to himself.
“Everyone. The meeting against the Sea Dragon is now temporarily suspended.”
There was no one who wasn’t surprised to hear those words. During a national crisis, closing the meeting in the middle of the country is insane.
“Calm down. There is no need to hold a meeting. The raiding party took down one sea dragon, and then the crown prince, Ain, almost single-handedly took down the other one…! Although there was a lot of damage, more than half of the team members survived, and Commander Christina also survived safely…!”
The crown prince Ain had defeated a sea dragon alone, a statement that made no sense. But the conference room, which had been silent for a moment, was soon enveloped in a whirlpool of joy. Even though it was still unclear how Ain had defeated the sea dragon, the fact that he had defeated a monster worthy of the national disaster was important.
“Y-Your Majesty! Now that’s…!”
“That’s ridiculous! Ain-sama defeated the sea dragon alone…?”
Warren and Lloyd were as surprised as the others.
“That’s why I told you, Lloyd. I want to evaluate and decide on both.”
“Y-Your Majesty? I also understand the meaning of “punishment or reward.” But what Dill has done, and the fact that I have failed to stop Ain-sama is…”
“But the results have been achieved. That gives me a reason to be worried. Dill took Ain to a dangerous place, but you can say that he was loyal if you look at it another way. However, it was not loyalty to the country but to Ain personally. I would say that this amounts to treason against my country.”
Lloyd accepts quietly. There is nothing wrong with that.
“But what about the result? Ain has done a heroic deed by killing a sea dragon. He also saved the life of Chris, the vice commander of the royal knights, who is our treasure, and brought many members of the team back alive. At least Ain couldn’t have done it without Dill’s help. Isn’t that right, Warren?”
“That’s right. By the way, Your Majesty, how about the material of the sea dragon?”
“I’ve heard that they brought the whole thing into the port.”
“If that’s the case, then we wouldn’t have been able to get the materials for those two dragons if the party had been wiped out. If they brought in the entire material of the sea dragon, their achievement is immeasurable. It’s not something that can be bought with money.”
The materials of the sea dragon are very precious, and if to consider how to use them, there are plenty of such things that can be obtained. It is not a material that can be obtained with money, and even in the past, when they defeated the sea dragon, they have not been able to bring back the whole thing. This time it was two whole dragons.
“But that’s a problem, Your Majesty. It’s not good to leave him unpunished. He indeed put the crown prince in danger. But we can’t ignore Dill’s achievements, even if they are indirect.”
“Yes, that’s why I can’t decide on a punishment.”
Lloyd found a little hope when he heard this. Even though he and his son had caused trouble and damage, Lloyd could still only think of the possibility that his son would not be executed.
“Your Majesty! I beg you! Please save Dill and Martha’s heads by taking down Glacier family and my own head…”
Lloyd said as he threw himself on the ground and shouted. In the presence of many influential people, he acted as if he didn’t care about the people around him.
“…What Dill has done is a serious crime. But, Lloyd, you can’t ignore what he’s done.”
For a few tens of seconds, Sylvird thought about it. Eventually, he decided that this would be a reasonable compromise and opened his mouth with a lightly twisted expression.
“Dill’s status as a member of the Duke Glacier family has been removed. His status as a knight will also be removed, and he will be reduced to a commoner. In addition, the Glacier family will be fined the equivalent of ten years of annual income.”
“Y-Your Majesty? Is it about the punishment…?”
Lloyd asked back in dismay because the punishment was too light.
“One last thing. Dill would be offered eighty years of national service. I’ll leave the details up to Ain.”
National service, as the term implies, is a punishment for serving one’s country. It is imposed within humane limits. Although life is guaranteed and life is not taken, some freedom will be taken away, but it is a sweet decision to leave it to Ain.
“T…Thank you for your generosity…!”
Lloyd shed a tear at the decision. It was a relief to know that Dill would not die and that Martha would not be punished.