It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (22/63), enjoy~
As soon as he entered the castle. Just as he was about to call out to his mother, she held him by her bountiful chest.
“I’m sorry… I’m back now.”
Ain was heartbroken to see Olivia in tears and put his arms around her back as she began to cry.
Krone approaches from behind Olivia.
“Welcome back. Your Royal Highness, the crown prince who makes women cry.”
The swollen look around her eyes was unmistakable, and it was clear that she had been crying ever since she had seen Ain off during the day, though Krone had probably tried to cover it up with makeup.
He smiled back at her, saying sorry for what happened.
She replied with a cheerful look on her face, which was not like her.
“Um, I’m sorry for making you worry.”
“Geez… you say that so lightly. But you’ve changed a bit since you became a hero, haven’t you?”
“Yeah. You’ve become a little cooler. Did defeating the sea dragon make you lose weight? Or is it because you made so many women cry that you became skinny? …I’m surprised you’re calmer than I thought.”
“…I’m sorry, I said I was sorry.”
It was nice to be complimented, but it was also typical of her to complain afterward.
“But I’m glad. I’m glad you came back like this… I will forgive you for today.”
“…I’m glad to be able to talk to Krone again.”
“Fufu, thanks for that. But you know that Ain has to clean Olivia-sama’s room, right?”
“You will help Martha-san tomorrow, okay?”
When Krone said this, Olivia pulled away from Ain and covered her face with her hands in embarrassment. Ain can’t move his hands in the first place, he thought, wondering what on earth this was all about.
◇ ◇ ◇
The next morning, Ain visited the infirmary in the castle early in the morning to check his arms. He was terribly worried that the corresponding healer was Katima, but surprisingly, she carefully moved her paw and replaced the bandages and other parts of Ain’s arms.
A little while later, he was eating in the infirmary with Chris’s assistance.
“──So, for a clumsy girl, you’re pretty caring too, huh-nya?”
Katima, sitting on a round chair in the infirmary, seemed to be enjoying herself. When she saw Chris taking care of Ain and bringing food to his mouth with a spoon, Katima felt like making fun of the peaceful atmosphere.
Chris was in a good mood and smiled warmly some more as if she was getting used to it. Ain, who is dissatisfied, says with a pout on his lips.
“…It was gonna be such a spectacle, so I thought I’d just have breakfast here.”
“I see-nya. Last night everyone else was eating-nya, but Ain didn’t eat-nya, which means you were in your room with Chris helping you-nya?”
“That’s right! If you know, you don’t have to ask.”
“Oh… Geez, Ain-sama? Don’t move too fast…! You’re going to spill the food.”
“…Yes, I’m sorry.”
Although he accomplished an unprecedented achievement, the hero looks like just an embarrassed boy because of the elves guarding him. In fact, Olivia said last night, “I’ll take care of Ain.” The one who objected to that was Chris, and she turned red and insisted, “I’ll be the one who will take care of him!”
She was surprised by Chris’s attitude, and in the end, it was left to Chris to take care of Ain.
(My arm… please get well soon…)
“Is it good, Ain-sama?”
“Yes. I think it’s delicious… right? I think it’s really good.”
Ain still can’t understand the taste of the food he has been eating since yesterday, but he has to get used to it or have to be patient for a few more days. Katima changed the subject while looking at Ain.
“By the way, Ain. You said you absorbed the magic stone of the sea dragon, right-nya?”
“I did; what’s wrong with that?”
No longer resisting, Ain answered in a weak tone.
“Show me your status-nya. I’m curious to see how strong you’ve become-nya.”
“Oh… you’re right. Sorry, Chris-san. Can I see it now?”
The status card that was shown greatly changed the expressions of the three of them.
Ain von Ishtalika
[Physical Strength] 4055
[Magic Power] 7367
[Attack Power] 473
[Skills] Dark Knight / Great Magic Guidance/ Ocean Current / Dense Fog / Toxin Decomposition EX / Absorption / Gift of Training.
Chris was surprised by the numbers, and Katima said with an agitated look and voice of a half-smile.
“Do you know-nya? Named is a kind of job for monsters-nya. When did you stop being a person-nya?”
“Something’s wrong. How did this happen?”
He absorbed the cursed magic stone and the magic stone of the sea dragon. As for the sea dragon, it can not be said that it was completely absorbed. However, the degree of growth was out of the ordinary.
“I’ve absorbed three national treasures; I should be a little stronger.”
“Don’t be ridiculous-nya. Do you think eating a kilo of meat will make you gain a kilo-nya?”
Ain nodded in agreement with her simple analogy.
“I think the ocean current is the skill I got from the magic stone of the sea dragon. Even so, the sea dragon and the ocean current are…”
“Fumu fumu, the other one is the Great Magic Guidance… the Great Magic Guidance-nya?”
Then Katima left the infirmary with a look of surprise on her face.
Ain wondered what was wrong with her, and within a few minutes, she returned, gasping for air.
“──I’ve brought it with me-nya!”
She said and spread out a book on the table in front of Ain. She brought two books, one of which was an illustrated book about monsters. The other was a book of an old elven script that she had bought with her allowance.
She was so excited. Then Chris shouted “Wow” in surprise.
“What does that expensive book have to do with it?”
“This one I picked up by mistake, so I just brought it along-nya.”
Ain looked at Katima, who was busily flipping through an illustrated book.
“Here-nya. The Witch… like the Dullahan, it no longer exists, but it is the best at handling magic-nya.”
Katima unfolded the document she had brought with her and showed it to everyone so they could see it. Depicted in the picture is a skeletal figure wearing a robe and holding a large staff.
“The cursed magic stone that Ain absorbed was this Witch’s magic stone-nya! It’s rather fitting that it had enough magical power to release the curse if you ask me-nya!”
“…Indeed. You’re probably right.”
“Huh? Um, Katima-sama?”
“Hmm? What is it-nya?”
Chris spoke to her as if she had suddenly noticed something.
“The skill Ain-sama gained is Great Magic Guidance, so it’s not the same as the Witch, right?”
“Nya-nya-nya? What are you talking about-nya?”
“Um… it’s written in the old Elvish script here, not in the document.”
Katima tilted her head, then picked up the book and asked.
“What do you mean-nya? You mean you can read this-nya?”
“Yes, I can read it. My tribe is made up of old people. The book’s title is “An Investigation into the Truth about the Demon King and His Aides.” …I found it very interesting!”
Katima made a dull sound and collapsed on the floor in a big heap as if she had frozen without saying a word.
“Nya, what did you say-nya… I didn’t know there was someone so close to me who could read it; I should have just shown it to you from the beginning-nya…”
“I mean, what’s with the title? I’m interested in The Truth about the Demon King.”
“I’m curious, too-nya. But right now, I’m more interested in what Chris has to say. I’ll have Chris translate it for me later anyway-nya.”
Then, under Katima’s direction, Chris turned the book to the appropriate page.
“It’s this one. The Witch’s skill is [Magic Guidance], so it’s a little different.”
“I don’t know what that means-nya. Can you explain in detail-nya?”
(…Chris-san, you’re so knowledgeable!)
Unlike her usual behavior, Ain was surprised that she had memorized a fact that Katima didn’t know. Ain thought it was a bit rude but waited for the book to be translated.
“This monster here is an Elder Lich ─ the name is Elder Lich Sylvia. The Elder Lich has a habit of using its own core power to create daggers and pass them on to its guard. ──She supported the demon king along with Dullahan and contributed to the development of the demon king’s territory along with her husband Dullahan… husband!”
Not only that. The illustration that was drawn regarding the dagger was exactly the same as the black dagger that Ain had lost.
“Husband, huh… eh, that’s right, the Dullahan magic stone that I absorbed and that cursed magic stone… no, not just that, the dagger that the grandmother gave me could be…!”
The two magic stones were a couple. That’s what it is. Furthermore, the dagger in the treasury is also related to that, and Ain was able to win the sea dragon thanks to the power of the magic stone couple and the dagger that Elder Lich created.
(I see…! That’s why the illusory hand triggered on its own at that time…!)
It’s too unrealistic a hypothesis.
(Dullahan’s power was still alive in me, so he sensed his wife’s presence and was trying to bring her closer with his illusory hand?)
That sign when he absorbed the cursed magic stone makes sense. However, the meaning of the “welcome back” that followed the “thank you” remained unknown.
◇ ◇ ◇
Olivia’s room was in more disarray than expected. It wasn’t her rampage that had done it. It was just the nature of the dryad race, Ain had learned from her.
“I’m sorry… I was so worried about you, Ain, that I couldn’t resist…”
Last night, he went to Olivia’s room to see what Krone had told him about cleaning it. In a word, the room is full of nature.
“…It’s full of tree roots and ivy.”
The roots and ivy leaking out of the door made Ain’s face twitch.
(Martha-san said that mother is a powerful dryad.)
When he put his illusory hand on the door because his arm was still immobile, he could see the roots and ivy spreading like a spider’s web across the room, centering on the sofa where she usually sat.
“After all, my nature is a dryad… That’s why when I don’t feel comfortable, I end up like this…”
“I-I see. But you don’t have to look so embarrassed, do you?”
Her appearance and the way she twists and turns her body are very attractive.
“B…but! It can’t be helped but to feel embarrassed when you think that this is all my body…!”
Ain was a little more convinced. There was the shame of being a dryad.
“Will I be able to take out my roots too?”
“Yes. Ain is more human than me, but when you are older, we can practice together, okay?”
He was curious about what kind of practice it would be but decided to leave it for another day.
So let’s get started, said Ain, approaching the sofa.
“I’ll clean this up, and you can go outside…”
As he was about to tell her to go outside and wait for him, she suddenly sat down on the sofa.
“Well… Ain, come here?”
She smiles like a holy mother and invites Ain in with a thump of her knee. Maybe she wants to have a little chat before cleaning.
(Maybe because we didn’t have time to talk last night.)
Ain sat down next to Olivia, feeling bad for making her worry.
“No, no, not next to me. It’s here.”
Olivia lifted him up half forcefully, and since she seemed to be heavy, Ain also lifted himself up. Eventually, Ain was hugged close to her chest without any resistance.
“It’s okay now. You’ve done well… good boy, good boy.”
In the midst of the sweet scent and warm softness of her bosom, tears suddenly appeared around Ain’s eyes at her sudden behavior.
“It’s okay, my sweet boy. …You’ve worked so hard, haven’t you? It’s okay now. There’s nothing to worry about.”
The tears did not stop, and Ain continued to cry. It was only when she regained consciousness in Chris’s lap that the tense threads broke. But he was aware that his mind was still in a state of tension, that his heart ached in Olivia’s arms.
“What’s wrong with me… why do I feel like this?”
The overproduction of the brain drugs in order to save Chris had wiped out the fear from Ain’s mind that no normal person could imagine in the face of the disaster that was the sea dragon.
That was the price. It was still fresh in his mind that Krone had surprised him when he returned to the castle last night. Her assessment that he was strangely calm was due to the fact that Ain was still in a catatonic state.
“Yeah, yeah. You’ve done a lot of work. But you don’t have to worry anymore, and you don’t have to be afraid. Ain has come back to me. So you’re safe now.”
He could have died; he could not have been saved. Chris might die in front of his eyes. There were so many reasons to be afraid. That mind that had been forcibly suppressed in his head was finally coming out as an emotion.
“It’s okay to clean up whenever you want, so let’s just take it easy for now.”
“…This is the first time I’ve felt this way… Please don’t tell anyone that I’ve shown you this…”
He resisted with a shred of rationality and managed to show his mettle. However, seeing such Ain, Olivia hugged Ain even more tightly.
“It’s okay. The Ain of today is the Ain that only I can see. I don’t want anyone else to see you like this.”
As usual, she was a woman who was very good at making Ain feel sweet and indulgent. Hearing the regular beating of her body, Ain calmed his heart.