It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (23/63), enjoy~
“So that’s why you’re here.”
“Yeah. I got kicked out, you know?”
“Sigh… Of course, you were kicked out. It hasn’t even been two days since the sea dragons’ incident. It’s no wonder Ain was kicked out of the training ground for trying to move your body.”
“No, that’s true, but… I just can’t stand it, you know…?”
I thought I could at least do some running ─ he said with what little feeble excuses.
However, he was already reprimanded for leaving the castle by Sylvird, who said, “You are under house arrest for now, aren’t you?”
So since he can only be in the castle, he went to Krone’s room.
“Sigh… I don’t know if I’m not educated enough to understand what you’re saying…?”
“…N-no. Maybe it’s just my fault.”
“──Well, that’s fine. Now that I understand, can you come over here?”
Ain, who was sitting on the couch opposite her, was called by Krone, and he sat down next to her without hesitation. He didn’t say it out loud, but he had made up his mind to listen to her obediently for a while, as he had caused her a lot of worries.
“…Hmm. You’re so obedient.”
“I’ve always been obedient.”
“Is that so? If you were obedient, you wouldn’t have rejected me that day.”
“…I didn’t reject you in the first place, did I?”
“Fufu, yes. I think it’s an admirable gesture since you’re already making amends in your heart.”
A cold sweat broke out as he realized that his emotions were leaking out. But there’s nothing he can do about it, and Ain recovered his expression.
“You are an admirable man, Your Highness. It would be fine if you could get a little closer, though.”
She put her arm around him and leaned him. In the backside of Ain’s head were Krone’s thighs wrapped in a sweet floral scent.
“Krone-san…? I mean, what’s the point of all this…?”
“Ara, Didn’t you know this, Your Highness the crown prince? It’s a lap pillow.”
“No, I know, but the suddenness of it surprised me, or so I thought.”
“…I’m in the mood for this. So just come along with me, okay?”
It’s not that he doesn’t like it when Krone does this. In fact, it’s the opposite. This is why he decided to keep quiet.
Eventually, her hand stroked Ain’s hair, and the smooth feel of her skin focused his attention. The distance between them was so close that he could hear the gentle sound of her breathing, and her scent and warmth made him feel as if nothing existed but the two of them.
“You can’t do anything reckless again, okay?”
“I understand… I’m sorry…”
The light coming in through the window was dazzling. As if she sensed it, Krone’s head shifted a little and provided Ain with some shade. The breeze through the room was pleasant and reminded Ain of the day he met Krone at Magna.
The chirping of the birds outside reached the room, making it feel like a bit of music.
“How’s it? Is it comfortable? Or do you not like it?”
“…I like it so much that I would buy this pillow if I could.”
“I’ll do it any time. You don’t have to buy it.”
It’s special, you know? Said Krone. The words were so sweet that they almost made his cheeks melt.
“Hey. How did you feel when you were fighting the sea dragon?”
“…Are you curious?”
Krone gently tapped Ain on the cheek for his mischievous reply.
“Sorry. Well, I was just trying to do my best, that’s all. I didn’t have time to think about anything else.”
“You weren’t afraid?”
He pondered and pondered, but still, there was no fear at the time.
“It was only when I got home that I realized it was so scary. Even when I was dragged into the ocean, I found that its magic stones were delicious, and even though I had a hard time breathing due to the near-death battle, I didn’t find it strangely painful.”
“But food during such a battle? We’ve got a very gluttonous hero here.”
“It’s okay, isn’t it…? It says that’s how good it was…”
“Hmm… you were tasting the sea dragon when I was worried about you.”
“…I feel guilty when you say that.”
Seeing Ain’s expression stiffen, Krone chuckles. She slipped her hand from stroking Ain’s hair and placed her hand lovingly across his cheek.
“I’m sure Ain has saved a lot of lives, and I’m proud of that. But I want you to know that I was worried about you… okay?”
Then she turned her head away.
A bit of bright light shone into Ain’s face, which was her way of giving a little payback. A breeze shook the curtains, and the slow breeze reached them both. Krone’s hair swayed in the breeze, and Ain’s heart was stolen by a different scent from earlier.
From outside, they could hear a few voices of the knights’ training.
“No more training until you heal properly, okay?”
“I’ll be under house arrest for the next two months, so it’s actually just about right.”
“That’s true. His Majesty is so kind, isn’t he?”
“I’m always grateful. Even for this.”
Ain looked at Krone’s face from below. Her lips were well-shaped, glossy, and attractive, and Ain’s face moved as if he were being lured.
“There, now. Be a good boy, okay?”
That being said. Ain refrain to do so, raised his body and picked up a cup of tea. His arm was not in perfect condition, but this was nothing to worry about.
“It’s a delicious cup of tea. The people at the castle have done a perfect job as always.”
As always, tea at the castle is delicious. But the one who responded to the words of praise that naturally leaked out was Krone.
“Fufu… I brewed that for you, you know?”
Speaking of which, she has brewed the tea for him before. It is apparent that she has become much more skilled, and the tea she brewed was not much different from the one Martha brewed.
She said to Ain in a teasing way and stood up with a light step.
“It’s a beautiful day. I feel sorry for His Majesty and the others who are being pushed around by Ain.”
“I-it’s okay now, isn’t it…?”
“Ara ara, you’re so serious. …Then, I’ll stop saying it…”
Ain couldn’t help but want to counterattack, so he decided to ask her about the words she had spoken before he went to help Chris.
“Hey, Krone. Did you really mean what you said the other day?”
“…What do you mean?”
“No, no, no, you already know what I’m talking about, don’t you?”
What she said was: “What if I tell you that you’re free to do whatever you want with me now?” Even though she said it to stop him, he couldn’t help but wonder how serious she was…
But when asked, she just smiled smugly.
“Hey… I’ve got a good thing for you, Ain.”
“A good thing? What do you mean?”
Krone looked out the window and continues her conversation without glancing back. Ain was watching her back, but after a few seconds, she said…
“I like you, you know.”
“…Y-you’re saying that all of a sudden… such an important thing…”
It was all Ain could do to say.
“This has not changed since I arrived in Ishtalika. No, it’s just grown bigger.”
She continued to speak without ever looking back. Ain couldn’t see her expression, so he couldn’t tell how much she really meant it.
“Why aren’t you looking at me? …And you say that like it’s a joke, but are you really serious?”
“Well, I don’t know. You can take it any way you want, okay?”
When being told to take it as he pleases, he can’t help but think about it. As for Ain, he knows that Krone has been thinking well of him. But the fact that he is not assured makes him a little uneasy. However…
Krone turned her head slightly to the side. Ain could see it clearly from her profile. Krone’s cheeks were dyed red covertly.
“But, you know. I’m always worried about you when you’re so reckless.”
Whether her cheeks were red from the heat of the sun or because she was embarrassed to confess that she liked him, Ain could not confirm. He stared back at her for a moment.
“So, you know? For example, if you make me worry a lot more in the future… I’m going to lock you in my room…”
It’s a cute protest, but her earnest wish is hidden in plain sight.
After a few moments of hesitation, Krone turned around, her skirt fluttering.
“I do not have any idea about it… did I?”
She folded her hips into a crook and lowered her posture slightly.
Turning to Ain, she put her index finger to her mouth and spoke. Behind the dainty enough to admire, there is a sexiness that is not in keeping with her age.
The light coming through the window shone against her back, divinely illuminating her glossy silver-blue hair.
Then Ain stepped close to her.
The two of them look at each other quietly, concentrating on each other so much that they can no longer hear the sounds around them.
Krone saw Ain’s figure and just waited in silence. It’s not just his imagination that she, who usually has plenty of confidence, looks somewhat nervous at the moment.
Three more steps, two more steps, and it seemed as if the distance between them would reach zero.
“This is Martha. Ain-sama, His Majesty has contacted me…”
As if they had been watching for the right moment, there was a knock on the door of Krone’s room. This is the moment when the two of them, who had been creating an air of otherworldliness, suddenly returned to their usual routine, as if the meeting had been settled.
“…Too bad. It looks like our time is up.”
She sticks out her tongue to show her mischievousness, but Krone is not as relaxed as she seems.
“Krone… You’re trying to be tough. Your face is very red, you know?”
“G-geez. It’s the same for you. Even Ain is burning up as well…!”
He thought that his body temperature had become quite hot. Apparently, both of them had the same complexion, and Ain laughed when it was pointed out to him.
“Have a good day. If you’re not doing anything reckless again, I’ll give you a lap pillow again.”
“Thank you. I’ll look forward to it.”
It was something that he was reluctant about, but he knew that this was it for today.
However, both of them enjoy this kind of exchange, and when she smiled more beautiful than the Star Crystal on her right hand, Ain said boldly, “Give me a lap pillow again, okay?”
She called out to him just before leaving the room.
“I’m really glad I came to Ishtalika.”
“…Me too. I’m even better off now that Krone is here.”
“…Geez! Look, you can’t keep His Majesty waiting, right?”
“Haha… I get it. Well then, see you later.”
This exquisite sense of distance and interaction between Ain and Krone is due to the two of them.
After Ain left, Krone sat down on the sofa, put her hands on her chest, and muttered to herself.
“…Sigh… I’m still nervous… Geez, that Ain…”
She was in a panic, which was unthinkable from her usual self. Her heartbeat continued to play its tune for a while after Ain left.
◇ ◇ ◇
“Grandfather. Sorry to keep you waiting.”
“Umu. Unlike Katima, you are a good boy who is punctual.”
He suddenly spoke of his dissatisfaction with Katima, but since he could not refute him, Ain kept silent. He sat down on the seat in front of Sylvird and took a glance at the other three people in the room.
“What happened to all these important people gathered here?”
Chris sat down next to Ain, and Lloyd and Warren stood behind Sylvird. There was no dangerous atmosphere, and the air was as calm as usual, which made him wonder.
‘Warren, please explain.”
“Understood. Ain-sama, Ain-sama is in the position of the crown prince.”
“Yes. That’s right.”
“As I’ve explained to you many times in the past, the crown prince may travel on behalf of His Majesty on official business.”
“I know that too. Does that mean you’ve decided something I have to do?”
Warren approached Ain’s seat and placed a few papers in front of him. He then placed the same documents in front of Chris.
“Oh, Chris-san, too?”
“Yes. Actually, I was called in just now…”
Chris was going to accompany Ain on his official business. However, she hadn’t heard about it either and had just come to receive the same explanation as Ain.
“I’d like you to take a look at the first one. It’s a summary of the money transactions between Euro and us.”
Why Euro? Ain wondered, but did as he was told and looked at the contents.
“…At a quick glance, it looks like things are going pretty well.”
“Yes. As Ain-sama said, it seems to be working well enough.”
“We’ve been able to mine so much sea crystal, which is essential for magic tools. At present, there is no other country more important to us than Euro.”
Both Ain and Chris nodded.
“That’s why we’ve decided to make our relationship with Euro even closer, now that we’ve achieved so much.”
“Could it be that? You’re saying that I should go to Euro…?”
If the destination had been Heim, other feelings and thoughts might have crossed his mind. However, he didn’t feel any differently about Euro, and in fact, he was looking forward to it.
“That’s right, Ain. I’ll explain it from here. I thought it would be difficult for you to be my representative for the first time. But after discussing it with everyone, we decided that Ain would have no problem with it. It would have been too big a task for me to go to Euro, so it was decided that you would go to Euro as my representative.”
But then, Ain had a concern.
“What should I do about the school? I have regular exams coming up…”
“It’s a special case. As the supreme director of the school, I will allow you to take your exams upon your return.”
He said not to worry about it because the results will also determine next year’s classification.
(…I guess that’s okay then.)
If the school is fine, then he can’t think of anything that would be a problem. Ain was prepared for the fact that he would one day serve as a representative of the government. But even so, he never thought that he would be traveling to Euro for the first time.
“Chris, along with the entire royal guard and Dill, will accompany you. Warren’s underlings will also be with you, so your safety is not a problem. It’s hard to leave the castle without the royal guards, but that doesn’t mean we can always maintain a perfect situation. The castle will be on high alert. Both sides will be fine.”
“Ah… I’ll be rest assured knowing that they’ll be escorting me that far. Yes.”
──The Knights of the Royal Guard.
It’s a gathering of the most talented knights in Ishtalika, who are not only skilled but also intelligent. Each one of them was raised to be able to act as a commander in an emergency, and if Chris were going to join in, it would be the most reliable thing.
“So, when will I be going to Euro?”
“As soon as your house arrest is over. Is that okay?”
“That’s just another sudden…”
Although the suddenness of the job a little disheartened him, there was no point in complaining.
“So… Warren, Chris! Take care of Ain for me.”
Ain’s eyes widened in surprise at the unexpected mention of the name Warren.
“You mean Warren-san is coming too?”
It was reassuring to know that Warren was coming with him. He could not think of a more reliable person for a meeting like this.
“Yes, it’s a special meeting. The crown prince and I, the prime minister, will be there on behalf of His Majesty. I believe the other side will understand the meaning of this.”
This means that the members of the delegation are there to show the seriousness of Ishtalika. However, until the decision was made on who would be sent, there were actually many opinions from the nobles.
“──There’s no need to go that far to a rural nation.”
“──We shouldn’t make a poor move.”
On the other hand, there are opposing views.
“This would be a show of force.”
“Heim has made a fool of us in the past. It would be good to show some intimidation.”
As a result, Ain, who had come to be known as a hero, led the way in dispatching Prime Minister Warren and many elite knights.
A further highlight was left behind.
“I will allow Ain to use the White King in my name. You will show us the pride and strength of Ishtalika…!”
The ship we will board is the White King. It is the largest battleship in Ishtalika and has been inherited by successive Ishtalika kings.
The weapons mounted on it are the most powerful in Ishtalika, and the size of the ship is also the largest. It is a masterpiece that contains the best of the technology of the unified nation of Ishtalika.
──It will surely bring a lot of excitement to Euro. Ain had a growing feeling of anticipation.