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It has been a while since the night fell. A few days after Ain had decided to visit the magic city of Ist, he was standing on the beach behind the castle.
The sound of rippling water caresses the ears, and the scene of shining magic tools placed here and there is just like a party venue facing the sea.
“Fufu… Are you sure you’re okay now?”
Krone smiled at Ain with a lively voice. She pulled Ain’s hand and walked backward.
Their hands overlapped, and Krone let out a giggle.
“I said it’s okay! If everyone sees me like this, I’ll be embarrassed…!”
“I know. That’s why we are here. Or are you really that uncomfortable about linking your hands with mine?”
“It’s not that I don’t like it! I just feel embarrassed.”
“It’s important, you know? Besides, Ain is going to Ist next week. I have to make sure your body is back in shape before you leave, do you understand?”
It was a plausible reason, but the look on her face indicated that she was enjoying Ain’s rehabilitation.
“…Well, I don’t mind, but…”
It’s just that, despite the ticklish sensation, he doesn’t feel bad. Rather, he even loves the time he gets to spend with Krone like this.
“What should I be doing while Ain is at Ist?”
“Don’t you have work to do at the August Trading Company?”
“Yes. But Grandfather will be leaving the capital next week to go to work… I think Ist is on his schedule too.”
“Well, if I see him, I’ll have a little chat with him…”
Ain says this without regard to his own status, but if the other party is Krone’s grandfather, there is no need to worry about it.
“I’m sure Graff-san will have some gifts for you, but I’ll get you something too.”
“Thank you. It’s always nice to get something from Ain.”
The fact that she held his hand made Ain feel even more embarrassed when she said it so close and directly. Ain quickly averted his gaze, coughed lightly, and straightened his posture.
It’s time to return to the castle. When Ain was about to make a suggestion, the weather was getting a little chilly.
The two of them accidentally got caught on the sandy beach with bad footholds.
Ain almost fell on top of Krone. Knowing that this might injure her, he quickly pulled her hand and switched positions. Krone then falls on top of Ein, who is the first to fall on the sand.
“A-are you okay?”
“Yes… I’m fine; it’s thanks to Ain.”
After a brief exchange, a silence drifted between the two. Instead, their ears were filled with the sound of waves, which sounded more lively than before.
Krone put one of her hands on Ain’s cheek.
Ain, on the other hand, pretends to be calm, but his heart is beating fast. Krone’s silky hair swaying in the sea breeze gently caresses Ain’s cheek, and her sweet scent tickles Ain’s nostrils continuously.
She had kissed him on the cheek during the Sea Dragon incident, saying it was a blessing from the goddess.
It was not the same as that day, but now that their bodies were in close contact with each other, Ain also noticed that Krone’s heartbeat was beating very fast.
“Will you come back safely this time?”
Then she added her remaining hand and put both of hers on Ain’s cheek.
“Yes, I promise.”
“Really? Are you sure it won’t be like the one in Euro?”
“I won’t, and I’ll try not to. Even if there is something wrong with my body, I will keep my promise that I made the other day.”
When he mentioned the day of their date, Krone’s eyes fell down, and the corners of her mouth twitched.
“It’s okay then. I know Ain will keep his word.”
Then Krone made an unusually sweet gesture. She relaxed her upper body and closed the distance between her and Ain even further.
“──Fufu. Ain’s chest seems to be very lively.”
“I do not deny it, but…”
Krone, too. But, he did not say it.
Seeing that she enjoyed herself, Ain’s embarrassment faded, and he chose another word to say.
“I just thought it would be nice to do something like this once in a while.”
He said without hesitation. For a moment, Krone seemed puzzled, but then he smiled.
“Don’t tell anyone, okay?”
“Yes. I won’t tell His Majesty even if he asks.”
The two of them smiled at each other with genuine enjoyment.
After a few laughs, Krone sat up as if she remembered. She took Ain’s hand and sat down shoulder to shoulder on the beach.
“You know, I’ve got something nice that I wanted to give to Ain.”
“For me? You want to give me something?”
“Yes, because we’ll be separated for a while. It’s a new type of message bird that can be used to send messages back and forth, although it’s not yet ready for practical use.”
That was the word he hadn’t heard in a long time. But the message bird was supposed to be expensive, depending on the distance, and Ain wondered if he should be given such a thing lightly. In addition, he was surprised that it could even travel back and forth.
“This is something my grandfather has invested in Ist’s laboratory to make.”
“Heh… I didn’t know that Graff-san was doing something like that. What else is new about it?”
“The message bird used to be expensive, right? But this new message bird is designed to be a low-cost way to communicate, and they’re thinking of making it available for general use.”
“You say that lightly, but it was something amazing, you know?”
“Fufu, but instead, it takes several hours or more to reach the destination.”
But that’s still fast enough.
Krone took out a small crystal ball from her pocket, small enough to fit in one hand. This is easy to use. It’s just a matter of holding it in your hand and saying the words while letting the magic flow.
“Here it is. I’ll hold the other one.”
“Thank you. Speaking of which, how many times can you send it back and forth?”
“Three times… Grandfather said that’s about it. He said it glows blue and white when it receives a call from the other party. He said that if you channel your magic the same way you send it, you can hear the other person’s voice.”
Not bad, Ain thought.
He would go far away to Ist to investigate, but he would still be able to contact Krone. If he could get a word from her, like a letter, that would be enough to motivate him to keep trying.
“If you miss me, you can always send me a message, okay?”
“…Krone, too, you can always send me one if you miss me, okay?”
It was too cute to be called a battle of wills, but Ain saw Krone’s lips pout, and he apologized cheerfully.
“I’ll call you as soon as I get to Ist. I hope you’ll wait for me.”
Hearing this, Krone’s cheeks broke into a happy smile.