Here’s the chapter, enjoy~
Chapter 3 – Monsterization And Travel Preparation
When he noticed, Ain was in a meadow with a gentle spring breeze. He was using something soft as a pillow, and it was not hard on his neck. The only problem he had was that he didn’t know where he was.
He tried to wake up, but he couldn’t. It was like a dream where his body movements were restricted. In addition, he could not open his eyes. But for some reason, he could see what was going on around him. The sky was azure, and the grass stretched out endlessly.
It was hard to hear through the haze of the wind, but he could hear someone humming above him. It was a woman’s voice that sounded like a ringing bell, and as soon as Ain heard it, he knew that she was the one giving him a lap pillow.
She stroked Ain’s cheek as he slept.
“Alright. I think you’re good enough already.”
What’s good enough? Ain wanted to say it, but he couldn’t.
But then the girl nodded back.
“It’s about you, you know. It’s okay now… I’m sorry. I’m sorry I caused you so much trouble.”
About himself? Caused me trouble? What the heck is she talking about? When Ain thought that in his mind, she just looked troubled and gently patted his head.
“Take care of yourself. Don’t worry about anything else. I will handle everything from now on.”
She did not give Ain an answer. But suddenly, freedom returned to Ain’s whole body. He opened his eyes and tried to look at her to find out more about her and where he was.
The world itself became a white haze. He could never see her face in the white haze, and when he reached for her arm, she only moved away.
◇ ◇ ◇
Ain opened his eyes.
He’s not in a meadow, nor is the sky azure, but in a castle in the capital, on a bed in his private room.
He tried to clear his head. Calm down; why am I here? Where is the place where I was before? …First of all, I was supposed to have gone to Euro as a representative. And on the way back…on the way back?
On the last day of the trip, he observed the salvage operation of the huge sea crystal. He couldn’t remember anything after that.
“It’s night now?”
He looked out the window to see a jet-black celestial sphere enveloping the royal capital.
Ain turned his attention to his right arm. The bandage covering his right arm is an item from Katima’s lab that has a sealing effect. The bandage was made by someone with sealing skills like Majolica. And he had no idea why he had such a thing wrapped around his arm.
“Hmm. Well, whatever.”
He didn’t feel any discomfort in his arm. So he removed the bandage at once.
“Well… I’ll have to ask someone.”
He picked up the bell on the desk next to the bed and shook it from side to side.
“I’d like to apologize for forgetting things at my age. I guess I’m just too tired.”
After all, he was traveling abroad. Strangely enough, he was reunited with his brother for the first time in a long time and had to deal with Heim’s troublesome royalty. He was aware that he was fatigued, not only physically but mentally as well.
While he was thinking leisurely, he heard a noisy noise from outside. The door was opened, and the two people who came into Ain’s room were Martha and Chris.
Chris was the first to open her mouth. She put her hands over her mouth, her eyes widened, and tears welled up in her eyes.
“C-Chris said. I can’t remember anything before we came back; when did we come back to the castle?”
“Wait, eh…? W-what? Chris-san?”
She hugged Ain with large tears streaming down her face. Ain stiffened too, wondering what was going on.
“Ain-sama… how is your body? Are you feeling better now?”
Martha was also surprised, just like Chris. She was so surprised that she couldn’t find the words to describe it, and it seemed like she was at a loss for what to do.
“I’m feeling a little tired. I can’t seem to get any strength into my body.”
“…Understood. Chris-sama, I’ll go and call His Majesty and the others.”
Chris was still sobbing, and Martha hurried out of the room. Ain, who had just woken up, still could not understand the situation and tilted his head. He had never been so touched by such a response after waking up from sleep.
“Hey, Chris-san. What’s wrong? You’re crying so much.”
“Because! It’s because Ain-sama is… Ain-sama is!”
It was a little embarrassing to comfort a woman who was older than him and also a beautiful woman like Chris. But, because she was crying so much, Ain stroked Chris’s head, which was still crying on his chest, as if she was caressing a child.
In the meantime, Martha came back in a hurry.
Olivia, Sylvird, and Laralua were the three who had been called in. Of the three, Olivia let out a sob of surprise that overtook Chris.
“A… Ain… you really are awake…?”
It seems that the situation is not normal.
“Mother, I don’t remember greeting you since I came back home, but I’ve returned home after completing my role as a representative.”
As soon as she heard Ain’s words, Olivia rushed to Ain just like Chris. She, too, started to shed tears. After gently putting his hand on Laralua’s shoulder to wipe his tears near the door, Sylvird approached the bed.
“──Grandfather. I’m sorry, but can you tell me what’s going on?”
“Yes. However, I am glad to hear your voice after a long time. Katima should be here soon. We can wait for that.”
After a long time?
After all, something was going on that Ain didn’t know about. A few minutes later, Katima came into the room in her pajamas. There was a serious atmosphere in the room, and she came in wearing sleepwear that looked like a stuffed cat.
“Katima-san, what’s with your pajamas?”
“You’re up already-nya? Geez, you are such a troublemaker child. Hey, Olivia, Chris. Step aside for a moment-nya.”
Katima forcefully pushed both Olivia and Chris out of the way.
“A-ane-sama! You can’t be so inconsiderate…!”
Olivia turned a resentful gaze at Katima, and Chris turned a face like an abandoned cat at Ain. Knowing the contrasting attitudes of the two, Katima did not respond.
“Can you walk-nya?”
“Of course I can… huh?”
He tried to get out of bed, but his arms were too weak. His body didn’t listen to him, and he almost fell off the bed. Katima saw this and put her hand on him.
“It can’t be helped-nya. You’re going to need some rehabilitation-nya.”
“Of course-nya. The two crying people there took good care of you-nya. Oh, and Krone, who is not here, came every morning-nya.”
Then she let out a big, deep breath.
“Six months-nya. You’ve been unconscious on that bed for almost half a year since you returned from Euro, since the incident-nya.”
With a sad expression on her face, Katima added, “Ain will soon be in the fourth grade-nya.”
Ain was so stunned that he couldn’t help but say, “No way.” Looking at everyone’s faces and soaking in the atmosphere, there was no way he could think it was a joke.
“Father. I want to talk about it in detail in the morning, with the book. Is that okay?”
“Yes. I agree with Katima. Now, Olivia and Chris. We must not burden Ain, who has just woken up. You must obey and be patient for now.”
Then everyone left Ain’s room, led by Sylvird and Laralua.
When Katima finally left, Ain thought back a little to his time in Euro.
“…I can’t remember anything since I saw that gift.”
That’s when Ain started to feel uncomfortable. But right now, he didn’t want to think about that gift. If he thought about it when he was alone, he would be out of control again.
To distract himself, he looked at his body. Something didn’t feel right, but then he realized that his body had grown. He was growing up, and even though he would be bedridden in six months, his body would grow little by little.
While he was choking back a little joy at the growth of his body, it was gradually getting brighter outside the window.
──In the morning, Martha came to get Ain. She came with a magic tool used by disabled people, or to put it simply, a wheelchair powered by magic stones. Ain sat in it and left the room.
It’s not the audience room that Martha took him to, but the entrance to it. Instead of a large group like last night, Chris and Sylvird were waiting for them.
“Warren and Lloyd will be arriving soon. Oh, and Katima will be here, too, but with you here now, we might be able to see what Katima was expecting to see.”
Martha quietly excused herself. Everyone was silent until Warren and Lloyd arrived a few minutes later. They arrived late and showed a cheerfulness that encouraged Ain.
“Ain-sama. It’s been a long time. How is your body now that you have grown? Would you like to have Lloyd-dono make you some new clothes?”
“I-it is true that I have sewing skills, but… I would rather not do that.”
“Oh dear, Lloyd-dono seems to be embarrassed, so let’s leave it at that.”
Soon after, Katima arrived. Warren then looked at Sylvird.
“Let’s all coming inside, shall we?”
Hearing those words, Lloyd opened the door leading to the audience hall. It’s a solemn space with no one in the audience room and the Demon King’s magic stone on the throne asserting its presence.
“Ain-sama. I’ll take you there.”
Chris pushed Ain’s wheelchair and helped him into the room.
As soon as they stepped into the audience hall, Chris, who was pushing the wheelchair, let out a confused voice.
“What’s wrong. Chris-san.”
“N-no… I just felt like it suddenly got heavy.”
Chris seemed to feel something strange, but she thought it was just her imagination. She continued to push Ain’s wheelchair.
“Really? Well, that’s fine.”
But it wasn’t just her imagination.
Sylvird and the others stood near the throne, but they couldn’t get close to Ain’s wheelchair. It was as if there was an invisible wall blocking the way, and only the wheelchair-carrying Ain was able to proceed.
“Chris… You can’t move, can you?”
“Yes. It’s as if there’s a wall blocking the way.”
“I want to do a final check-nya. Just try to force your way forward-nya.”
Chris didn’t know what the final check was, and she just pushed the wheelchair. Soon after Chris pushed the wheelchair harder, a girl’s voice echoed in the audience hall.
“Don’t come… don’t come…!”
The girl’s voice conveyed a cold power and a sense of intimidation that seemed to freeze everyone from their core.
Sylvird and Lloyd looked surprised, and Warren turned grief-stricken. Katima hurried to tell Chris.
“You have to get Ain away from the throne-nya! Hurry up-nya!”
Shortly after Ain was moved away, the atmosphere that had been there before died down.
“Katima. It seems that the results of your six months of research were unfortunately correct.”
Sylvird said, staring at the Demon King’s magic stone. Katima has an unusually sad expression on her face.
“I don’t know how it happened-nya. How could so many beings with such a strange connection gather around a single person?”
Without saying a word, Katima handed a book to Ain. The mystery only deepened, but Ain first looked at the book that was handed to him. It was a brand new book that seemed to have been made recently. When he looked at the author, he saw that the names of Katima and Chris were written jointly.
The title says, “The Tragic Demon King.”
“…I’m sure you have some questions-nya. But first, have a quick look.”
“Okay. I’ll read it first.”
Perhaps because of the atmosphere in the audience room, Ain decided to look through the book obediently. The book’s cover was made of brand-new leather, but it was hard to the touch and did not show any signs of aging.
“It’s a book made by Katima-san and Chris-san, right?”
“Yes-nya. We’ve been researching hard for the past six months, and we finally finished this book-nya. It’s hard to put a price on it-nya.”
“Hmm, that’s nice.”
Ain put the book on his lap and turned the cover.