It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (28/63), enjoy~
Ain and the others were escorted to Duke Amur’s castle and sat down on the chairs in the main conference room. At the moment, Duke Amur was in the middle of confirming the letter of intent handed to him by Warren. The huge oval-shaped table was divided into two sections, one on Eulro’s side and the other on Ishtalika’s side.
Edward was nodding to himself before the conversation began.
“Mmm, what’s the matter? Ed.”
“Ah, no. I’ve been watching His Highness Ain and it’s been bothering me.”
“What do you mean you were bothered?”
“It’s strange. He doesn’t have his vessel in his body. When I stand in front of him, I can’t help but see him as a big monster. I can’t understand why, either.”
As the crown prince of Ishtalika, an absolute powerhouse, Ain behaved splendidly. Duke Amur felt that Ain was admirable, but…
“I don’t get the gist of it.”
Edward’s words had this impression on him.
“I apologize, but I just have the same kind of feeling like that from him.”
Edward referred to Ain’s hidden power but also mentioned Chris, who was standing behind Ain.
“Probably the strongest person in a one-on-one fight is Christina-dono, the marshal. However, if fighting against a monster, His Highness Ain might be stronger.”
“I have no idea. Why not Christina-dono?”
While looking over the letter, Duke Amur couldn’t help but be intrigued by Ain.
“Ed, His Highness Ain is still a boy, you know?”
“But this feeling is hard to ignore. Now… what kind of power does he have?”
There was no answer to this question, but Duke Amur composed himself and said.
“I’m sorry to keep you waiting, Warren-dono. I have carefully read the letter you gave me. I can understand the feelings of His Highness King Sylvird of Ishtalika.”
“That is a great honor.”
“Several new trade agreements and a formal treaty of friendship. All of them are a win-win situation for us, and I am grateful for it.”
Duke Amur raised the corners of his mouth in a good mood.
“We will now begin to discuss and confirm the contents. I hope this will be a fruitful discussion for both of us.”
Then the meeting began.
The Duchy of Euro was led by Duke Amur, while Warren led the Ishtalika side. Ain breathed a sigh of relief at the peaceful situation.
The meeting went smoothly as Ain had expected. All Ain had to do was sit next to Warren and listen, occasionally nodding in response to Warren’s words. He decided to only learn about the still complicated deal here.
It had been about two hours since they had entered the conference room. When all of them began to look a little tired, Duke Amur proposed.
“Oh dear, it was such a fruitful meeting that we forgot to take a break. How about it? Why don’t we take a break and go see the scenery that the castle boasts? There’s a pretty nice view behind the castle.”
“The wind seems to have calmed down, so it shouldn’t be too cold.”
As they tired of sitting, Ain and Warren exchanged glances and nodded at each other.
“I would like to see it. Warren, let’s have them show us around.”
“Understood. So Duke Amur, we will be in your care.”
“That’s good. Well, we shall proceed at once. Ed, show us the way.”
Duke Amur and Edward left their seats and headed out of the conference room. Chris and Dill stood on either side of Ain, who also stood up, and Warren walked in front of them as if he was leading them.
After they left the conference room, the royal knights who were waiting outside walked behind them.
“It’s kind of a long line…”
Ain said with a wry smile.
“Geez… It’s not like we’re hostile to each other anymore, but it’s only natural, considering your position.”
“I know, I know… I can rely on Chris-san when the time comes.”
After exchanging a few words without seeming particularly nervous, Ain turned his attention to the interior of Euro Castle. Even though it was the same type of castle, it was very different from the one in Ishtalika.
“The interior of the castle is completely different here.”
“Yes. In Ishtalika, stone and ores are used as building materials, and materials from monsters are also used.”
On the other hand, Euro Castle was somewhat rugged, just like the scenery of the town. The castle was decorated with beautifully woven cloth and carvings, but the atmosphere was a bit stiff, giving the impression that it was closer to nature. There are no soft carpets like in Ishtalika.
As they walked through the castle, Duke Amur, who was walking ahead, spoke to Warren.
“By the way, Warren-dono. In fact, I’ve been meaning to tell you today that we’ve found a huge chunk of sea crystal at the bottom of the ocean, right where Warren-dono and the others’ ship docked.”
“Hou, that’s good news. How big is it?”
“About the size of a small fishing boat, if you ask me.”
Warren’s eyes widened in amazement as he did not seem to hide it. Such a huge chunk of sea crystal has never been found in Ishtalika. Just thinking about how many magic tools can be created out of this stuff makes him smile.
“I never expected it to be that big… No I’m sorry, it’s an unprecedented size.”
“It’s no wonder. I’ll be happy to share more information as soon as the meeting is over.”
“Thank you. I’m sure mining will be difficult with such a huge structure, so after reviewing the materials, we’ll be able to come up with a plan.”
Even though they were supposed to be taking a break, they started talking about the deal.
Edward said, “Well well,” and admonished Duke Amur.
“Duke Amur. We’re here for a break, so it’s not appropriate for us to talk about it here…”
Soon after Duke Amur made an embarrassed face, the group went out to the back of the castle.
A headland with lush green grass greeted Ain.
“We’ve built a staircase on the slope of this headland. It leads down to the beach. Take care of your feet, ladies and gentlemen.”
Ain nodded at Duke Amur’s words and started walking. It was said to be the castle’s pride and joy, and the colorful scenery attracted Ain’s attention.
The green of the grass, the azure of the sea. Pure white flowers were planted on both sides of the carefully maintained stone stairs.
The scenery was so different from what they had seen before that it made Ain think that this path was trying to take them to another world. The only disappointment was that the sky was not clear.
“…It’s a nice sea breeze.”
The sea breeze caressed Ain’s cheek.
“I’m glad you like it. Your Highness Ain. Please come this way… Mmm?”
Duke Amur, who was pleased with Ain’s words, suddenly stopped at the top of the stairs.
“Oh, Edward. Why are there knights down there?”
“There must be something wrong? This is not a place to enter without the permission of Duke Amur, and I don’t think they’d just step in without permission.”
Edward stepped to the side of the knight, saying shortly, “Excuse me.”
“What are you people doing here?”
“I ─ Isn’t this Edward-sama! And Duke Amur! I see that the people from Ishtalika are here as well.”
“Yes. I wanted to give everyone a chance to see the pride of the castle. So, what are you doing here?”
“…W-we were informed that a guest was waiting to take in the view.”
Edward tilted his head, unable to make sense of the word “guests.”
Warren then said.
“Excuse me. Could it be that we from Ishtalika have done something wrong…?”
“N-no, not at all! What I mean the guest is… um…”
“Hey, don’t be ridiculous! That’s enough!”
Duke Amur seemed to be upset with the rude guest, as today was the day of the important meeting. He ignored the knight, and Duke Amur went ahead and headed for the headland.
“Fumu. Edward-dono, were there other guests besides us today?”
“There were no such things. I have not heard of any, nor has Duke Amur, in all probability…”
The rest of the party tilted their heads at Edward’s reply.
At any rate, let’s go after Duke Amur, said Edward. A little behind Duke Amur, the group passed through the passage and reached the beach.
There was Duke Amur and a group of a dozen or so people confronting him. Most of them were knights, but there was one well-dressed boy.
When Duke Amur sees the boy, he opens his mouth and reveals his surprise.
“──Why are you here…?”
Then the well-dressed boy noticed Duke Amur.
“You’ve finally come to meet me! What took you so long?”
The boy’s arrogant tone made Duke Amur gasp. He was surprised to see the third prince of the Heim Kingdom, Tigre, in front of his gaze.
Warren, who arrived late, also saw the reason for the commotion and laughed in agreement.
“Well, well… It seems to be a development I did not expect.”
Warren said, rubbing his beard and looking at Tigre.
As expected of a prince, the clothes that Tigre is wearing are quite luxurious. The knights with him are also dressed in high-quality armor, making it hard to believe they are just mere guards.
They’re definitely the royal knights.
“…Mmm? By the way, Duke Amur, who are those people in the back? Did you keep me waiting while you dealt with another guest?”
“W-what do you mean? You had no appointment with me, did you?”
“Yes, indeed, but I have a letter of authorization from my father. This is an official visit.”
Tigre, the third prince, spoke as if it were a matter of course. It was not possible for Duke Amur to eliminate the continent’s champion, Heim, and its royal family by force.
“What’s going on?”
A little later, Ain arrived with Chris and Dill.
“Well, there seems to be a trouble. Just stay close, okay?”
Ain had been thinking lightly up to this point.
“But still, I don’t know what’s going on ─ Eh?”
However, when Ain saw the blonde-haired boy standing next to Tigre, he was so astonished that his heart almost stopped. The blonde-haired boy opened his mouth before Ain did.
“Eh… No way… it’s a lie, isn’t it? Why… are you here?”
“What’s with the loud voice all of a sudden, Grint?”
“Your Highness, that man standing there…”
Grint suddenly pointed his finger towards Ain. A moment later, Chris extended her arm to the sword on her hip faster than anyone else.
“That man was my older brother! He’s no longer Roundheart, but his former name was Ain Roundheart, and he used to be my older brother!”
Grint said in a firm tone, though his voice was still young. The people of Ishtalika were all in a frenzy, especially Chris and Dill, who looked as if they were about to attack.
The situation was becoming tense, and Ain turned to face Grint and opened his mouth.
“I guess I should say it’s been a while, Grint. And Chris-san, Dill. Don’t move your hand any further. Okay?”
Dill nodded reluctantly in response to the restraint, saying, “…Yes.” But even though it was Ain’s order, Chris didn’t nod obediently.
“B-but, Ain-sama──! That Roundheart…! I can’t allow anyone to say something like that to you at this moment!”
“I know. I know. I completely understand how you feel about that, Chris-san.”
“But you can’t. As the crown prince, I can’t allow any action that goes against the words of His Majesty the First.”
And then Ain’s hand was put on Chris’s hand. The prohibition of preemptive attacks, he was right, but Chris couldn’t accept it honestly. But when Ain quietly said, “It’s okay,” Chris finally gave a small nod.
“I’m not going to stay on the receiving end either, so I need you to be patient for now.”
Ain laughed like a mischievous child, and Chris was finally drained of her hatred.
Then Grint said to Ain.
“You ─ How dare you so carelessly! How dare you say it’s been a long time like that!”
Grint was still aggressive, though.
“Fumu. I can’t overlook the fact that you don’t bow your head, point your finger, and refer to His Highness as you.”
Grint flinched at Warren’s piercing eyes, which seemed to see into the depths of his soul. Warren was about to put an end to it, but Ain stopped him with his hand and said.
“Duke Amur. We can’t take a break under these circumstances. I am grateful for the opportunity to walk and refresh myself, but it seems we have another guest.”
“Ah… Brother! What are you suddenly in charge…”
Ain was also a little irritated by Grint’s inability to read the atmosphere. Warren pressured him to correct his name and tone of voice, but…
“Grint, if you are the heir to a noble family, you should behave in an appropriate manner. I’m the first to say it’s been a while, but you’ve gone too far.”
The presence of his brother, whom he hadn’t seen in a long time, was full of more vigor than before. All of them quieted down, saying that no one had expected this development and that they should calm down for once.
──No matter what they do, they can’t just ignore the other side.
Chris said to Warren, “Let’s ignore Heim,” but Warren shook his head, saying that was not going to happen.
“Well, I suppose I should at least introduce myself.”
“Warren-san, since we’re stuck here… why don’t we go back to the courtyard of the castle?”
“That’s right. ──Duke Amur, why don’t we go back to the courtyard?”
“U-umu! I agree with you!”
“Therefore, you are all welcome to join us.”
Warren said to Tigre and the others with a good-natured smile.
“Hey! His Highness Tigre is the third prince! You should be more careful how you speak!”
Grint said in a ranting voice, making Warren smile bitterly. He was still very young, but he was very loyal, and Ain was nearing the end of his patience.
“Grint, in that case I am the crown prince. The third prince or the crown prince, even a young child would know who’s position is higher. If you’re not too stupid to understand that, just shut up and follow along for now!”
Chris and the others immediately followed Ain, who started walking without waiting for a reply.
“W-what a rude…! Let’s go! Grint!”
The two men’s faces turned red, and they looked agitated, but they closed their mouths when they saw Ain already on his way to the courtyard.
Even Ishtalika’s royal knights went after Ain without even taking a glance at Tigre and the others.
“H-however, the wind is suddenly… rushing.”
“Your Highness! Please watch your step!”
But the wind did not blow in the direction of Ain.
“Hey, did Chris-san do something?”
“Yes. But I hope he’s grateful that he got away with this much.”
It seemed that Chris had used wind magic to gather the wind at them.
Ain chuckled and gave a carefree smile.
“I like that part of you, Chris-san.”
“Oh… um, thank you… very much.”
The embarrassed Chris was cute compared to her beautiful appearance. When she blushed and looked away shyly, Ain was softened by her gesture and was able to suppress the inexpressible feelings he had just felt slightly.
Then, Warren quietly approached to praise Ain’s words.
“The way you behaved just now was brilliant. I must inform His Majesty, Her Highness, and Olivia-sama.”
“It’s a disrespectful thing to say, and in fact, it may have been rude.”
“No, no. I’d rather you could have said more. If you wanted, you could have said something like, ” He has no right to inherit the throne, didn’t he?” I don’t think that’s a problem.”
“Oh, Warren-san, are you in a bad mood too?”
“Well, I don’t know.”
He muddied the waters, but he must not be happy. But it’s troublesome, Ain thought, as he looked up at the gray sky surrounding Euro.