It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (21/63), enjoy~
Ain was puzzled. He had moved to a corner of the military port to have a quick meal, but he couldn’t help but smile at his lack of strength in his hands.
“No, I can’t move my arms…”
At that moment, Chris felt unsteady and collapsed into a chair. Dill, who was sitting right beside him, managed not to collapse but said with a sigh.
“You should not say such things so lightly…”
“I’m fine. I can feel the numbness and stuff. It’s probably because I overworked my body too much, and the repercussions are strong in my body… Yes, you should get up too, Chris-san.”
But the aloof Ain was unaffected by Dill’s great concern. Chris has been in the same situation for a long time now.
“Wha? I had a dream that Ain-sama’s hand stopped functioning…”
“It’s not a dream. And it’s not like it’s going to be immobilized for the rest of my life; it will heal if I rest properly.”
“Geez! You’re not a doctor; what are you talking about? Come on, let’s go!”
“Wait… eh, where are we going?”
“There are many healers in this port city! So, of course, we’re going to the healers!”
“No, wait… Dill! Help me!”
“Chris-sama. I just heard that we’re going to the capital by ship.”
Dill changed the subject without answering Ain, who was supposed to be his master.
“Yes. We’re supposed to take Princess Olivia’s battleship to the port of the royal capital.”
“If that’s the case, why don’t you go to Princess Olivia’s battleship now? In addition to that, I think it would be better if you strapped Ain-sama to the bed and let him recover for a while.”
“Wha… O-oi! Dill!?”
The sudden betrayal made Ain’s blood boil, and then he saw Dill’s face as if he had accomplished something.
“That’s fine too. …Let’s go, Ain-sama.”
“Wait, don’t lift me up! It’s a little embarrassing, so at least let me walk!”
Dill said he would have the food brought to him, and eventually, after much pleading, Ain was allowed to walk. Chris grabbed his hand to keep him from running away, which made him feel embarrassed.
“Well, Ain-sama. Please take a good night’s rest.”
“D-Dill, you’re a traitor!”
“That’s not true. I’m only worried about your health, Ain-sama.”
Dill laughs sadly as he stares at Ain’s back as he is being brought away and when Ain is out of sight.
“…Ain-sama, today is the last day of my escort duty. It wouldn’t hurt to have some fun, at least for the last time as we did earlier.”
It was only natural that he would be punished. At least, he understands that his execution is inevitable. He apologized in his heart to his father and mother for his lack of filial piety.
“But I have no regrets. So my loyalty was justified.”
He was able to help the crown prince, Ain, with the utmost loyalty. The thought that he would be executed did not dampen his spirits.
“It’s a little sad to be alone, but the aftermath is not so bad. …It’s also good to have a meal with Ain-sama today.”
Dill’s chest is filled with pride. The fact that Ain, who he has been watching over next to him, has become a hero makes him feel even happier than he himself does.
──A few minutes after Chris took Ain. He was surrounded by healing magic tools and received healing magic from many healers.
“The next time, if you’re not careful, your arm might lose its function completely. Or your arm could be torn to shreds.”
“…Understood. Thanks for the advice.”
“I’m glad you understand. But how did you end up with this kind of damage…? It’s well beyond the damage that a person can take…”
The healer left the room, muttering his thoughts, and Chris approached the bed where Ain lay.
“It was a fight beyond the realm of humanity. I think the healer is right.”
“Haha… a lot of things have happened.”
Then it’s time for the following sermon. Ain regained his composure a bit.
“Then… you must be hungry, let’s eat, shall we?”
“Yes? What’s wrong?”
He was taken aback. Ain felt that her voice was gentle and sweet, as were her words.
“Did you think I was going to lecture you?”
“N-no, not at all…”
“Good grief… It’s only for today. I’ll let you off the hook.”
Chris is sweet and also kind. No, she’s always kind, but the sign she’s giving off now is lovely. Her devotion had always been like that, but now it was even more sophisticated.
“Excuse me. Let me help you.”
Chris took the bowl in her hand and scooped it up with a spoon.
“No, no, Chris-san! That’s really embarrassing!”
“Fuh… fuh… Then how do you eat it?”
The meal, which was cooled by her breath, raised a thin layer of steam. She brings the spoon to Ain’s mouth, but he is too embarrassed to open his mouth.
“…Don’t be stubborn; just eat your food and let your body heal.”
There was no other way to eat. Ain broke at the seriousness of her eyes.
“Yeah… yeah. It’s rice.”
He couldn’t taste it. He was too mentally tense to do so. But as he chewed and swallowed, his body rejoiced at the nourishment that had reached his stomach.
“Does it taste good?”
He couldn’t say that he couldn’t taste it. It would cause other worries this time. But it was different not to say anything when Chris was doing this for him.
“It’s delicious. Thank you, Chris-san.”
The food was made with seafood from Magna, and it must have been so delicious that his cheeks dropped. She answered, smiling inwardly, guessing that it was indeed a lie.
“Fufufu, then… I’m happy too.”
…Chris’s smile leaked out naturally.
A faint crimson appeared on her skin, reminiscent of white porcelain, and Ain admired her clear blue jade eyes.
──Oh, thank God. I was really able to save Chris-san…
The tension broke, and he smiled, and his green eyes, like Olivia’s, were filled with thin tears.
“A-Ain-sama! Was it still hot? I’m sorry, I was…”
“Hahahaha…! That’s funny, that’s just like Chris-san…! But it’s okay; I was just fine. Come on; I’m hungry!”
Ain had never felt more accomplished than he did today. He had once made a big speech at a party at the castle, but unlike that time, the victory over the sea dragon, which he had carried out entirely on his own, had given him the feeling that he was somewhat closer to becoming the first king.
◇ ◇ ◇
The port of the royal capital was filled with good news. People were waiting for Ain and the others to come down from Princess Olivia’s battleship that had just arrived. At the top of the list were Sylvird, Lloyd, Warren, and other important figures.
“But it’s impressive. Ain-sama killed that thing.”
Warren said, looking at the corpse of the sea dragon moored to the two battleships accompanying Princess Olivia’s battleship.
“I also agree. What a large… majestic and terrible sight.”
“U-umu… how on earth did Ain-sama manage to kill it…?”
In the meantime, Ain got down from Princess Olivia’s battleship; Chris and Dill, who came from a little behind, stood in front of Sylvird. The people of the royal capital cheered at the arrival of Ain and the others, who were already called heroes.
“…I’m back. Your Majesty.”
As expected, Ain was not as innocent as usual, and it was clear that he was slightly distracted. But even within that, there was a hint of pride.
“I have many things on my mind. But first, as a king, I should say this. Ain, you have done a great job!”
“Welcome back, Ain-sama. I was very surprised that you managed to kill such a magnificent sea dragon…”
“Ain-sama, thank you for coming back safely. …Dill, do you understand the situation?”
“Yes. Your Excellency the Marshal… No, Father. I understand everything I’ve done. And prepared.”
After greeting Ain, Lloyd still gave Dill a stern look. But Ain disciplined his emotions and changed his expression.
His current voice is as domineering as it was when Ain declared himself the crown prince at the party.
What’s more, this was the first time he had ever called Lloyd by name only. Lloyd was flustered, and those around them were all astonished.
“This is what “I” ordered. I will not allow you to complain about what I have ordered in the name of the crown prince.”
Warren was the most surprised to hear this. He felt that the presence of the king that Ain gave off was the capacity of a strong king, even stronger than the young Sylvird.
“──Ain-sama! …No, Your Highness! No matter how much you say so…!”
“I will not repeat it again, Lloyd. I will not have you complain about my orders any longer.”
Nobody can complain. With this in mind, Ain spoke, but his words were more powerful than he thought. He took Lloyd’s silence as approval and continued to defend Dill.
“I know I need to decide on some of the royal decrees I’ve exercised. But there is no need to do it here and now.”
When Ain said that he had exercised some of them, Dill and Sylvird, and Warren understood his intentions.
Eventually, the group got on a carriage and returned to the castle through the main street filled with stalls and crowds.
“Ain-sama. May I ask you one question?”
“Hmm? What is it, Warren-san?”
“…What exactly are the contents of some royal decrees?”
Dill and Lloyd shook their bodies when they heard these words. Ain also frowned at Warren’s tone of voice and thought about it for about ten seconds to make sure that his words were correct before opening his mouth.
“The first is that I forced the royal water train to start operating. The other two are that I ordered Dill to prepare a horse, advise and guard me.”
He also ordered Chris to do the same once, but he omitted it for now because he talked about Dill.
“W-what are you talking about… Ain-sama!”
It was only natural that Dill objected strongly. It’s disrespectful to interrupt the crown prince’s words, but no one pointed that out. However, Ain did not answer Dill but controlled him with his hand and stared into Warren’s eyes.
“But did you consider the possibility of being expelled from the royal family if it was inappropriate?”
“I did. I thought about it, but I couldn’t keep silent when I weighed the lives of Chris-san and the others.”
“Certainly you were able to save them. But if you failed, our country would have lost even the crown prince. You’ve made Olivia-sama and also Lady Krone sad.”
He understood that as much as it hurt. He can easily imagine that they were crying, although Ain did not see the tears of Krone.
“The first king achieved victory over the demon king. But if he fails, there will be no Ishtalika. There are some mistakes that can be made, and some thoughts can be had if he fails. But, Warren-san, do you think that the first king was wrong?”
“…That’s too polemical. It is a childish opinion with a lot of room for debate. But…”
Warren’s voice quivered with nostalgia as he answered.
“When you say it, it’s even more convincing.”
The meaning of Warren’s words was vague, and Ain tilted his head. He wanted to ask what he meant, but before he could, Chris stepped forward with a tireless walk.
“…Warren-sama. This is my fault. Because of my command and my lack of strength, Ain-sama has come to me. Ain-sama is a very kind and honorable man. I think I am the one who needs to be punished.”
Chris pleaded, “Please don’t punish Ain-sama.” It was the first time they had seen Chris like this, and they were all taken aback by her behavior.
“Chris-san, I want you to be quiet for now.”
“Haahahahahaha! It’s like we’re the bad guys, isn’t it, Warren?”
“Fufu…Yes, really. It would be a pity to drag this out, so why don’t you tell him?”
Warren encouraged Sylvird with a smile. After a while, Sylvird began to talk as if he had no choice.
“I don’t like the idea that all is well when the end is good. There is no denying that it is necessary to consider both reward and punishment.”
He spoke up and looked at Ain.
“Warren, about the reward and punishment.”
“Ha…! Now, I believe that a single sea dragon is worth about twenty years of the national budget.”
This time, it’s worth two. In other words, the fact that he enriched the national treasury so much is too great that the royal decree that was ordered will not be punished.
“However, since there is the matter of using up the royal water train and the Glacier family’s ship, no reward will be given.”
Apparently, it was an offset. There is no doubt that Ain is grateful for this.
“It’s just like Warren said. And for the rest, you will be under house arrest in the castle for two months. Understood?”
“…Yes. Thank you for your generous punishment.”
“And now, Lloyd. This is your punishment.”
Sylvird then looked at Lloyd.
“The punishment for not being able to stop Ain is as already stated. You will be fined and stripped of your position as a knight of Ishtalika. You’ll no longer be a marshal.”
“…As you wish.”
“Then, as a reward, Chris will be promoted to the position of marshal. I won’t accept any objections.”
Chris almost shouted in surprise at the sudden appointment, but she quietly bowed her head in front of the king.
“Lloyd, from this moment on, you will be my personal guard. You must work hard and risk your life.”
Just as he was about to retire, Lloyd looked up in a panic at the words.
His voice trembled, and there was a hint of timidity in it as if he was asking if he had heard wrong.
“Lloyd-dono. Your Majesty is in trouble, too.”
“Indeed. Good gracious… What do you want me to do, you idiot? He saved the port city of Magna, brought two sea dragons to the country, saved Chris, a valuable knight, and rescued the raiding party. How can I punish those who have accomplished so much so strongly?”
They saved the lives of tens of thousands of people, provided the country with decades’ worth of national budget, and rescued valuable warriors. In the end, those who had made such achievements could not be strongly punished.
“Well, then, Your Majesty… what is the punishment for Dill for following me…?”
Sylvird waved his hand in a cumbersome manner to Ain, who asked fearfully.
“There is no such thing. There will be no punishment. And I’m tired of it. Don’t call me Your Majesty for now.”
“Then, Grandfather! Dill can’t be punished for anything, can he…?”
“Fumu. That’s what I said.”
And then Warren explains why he can’t be punished.
“Your Majesty has no choice, Ain-sama. He can punish you for using the royal decree, but he can’t punish Dill for the decree… Hahaha!”
However, he can’t punish Ain either because of the achievements that Ain has made. Sylvird might be called naive by the people around him. They might say that he made an incorrect decision as a king. Even so, he had no regrets about making this choice.
“Oops, but Ain-sama? What kind of punishment will you receive from Olivia-sama and Lady Krone? We will not be involved in any way…”
Especially from Olivia.
He would be scolded for causing a ridiculous amount of worry. Krone will also be angry, but these things are inevitable and must be endured.
“Ain-sama, I’ll go with you too… okay?”
Ain felt relieved that he had successfully completed the day’s events.