It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (36/76), enjoy~
Not long after Krone went to bed, Ain, who was at Ist’s inn, went to the room of the girl he had protected the other day.
Her dirty, sooty face and hair had been washed off in the shower, and she looked like a simple town girl of her age. He bought some clothes that he had found and dressed her in them.
The girl had tears in her eyes when she heard from Ain about the Tower of Wisdom.
“I-if my sister can be saved… there is no greater happiness for me.”
“It’s not a certainty that she’s still there. It’s just a possibility.”
“No! But if you have any leads whatsoever, please…!”
Seeing the girl’s joy, Katima, who was present, said.
“It’s a bit late now, but can I ask you and your sister’s names-nya? Otherwise, we won’t be able to find her.”
“M-my apologies! My name is Vara, and my sister’s name is Mei. She is only six years old and is very young.”
“Fumu, fumu, I see-nya.”
“A-and by the way… I’m assuming you’re noblemen; who exactly are you?”
They hadn’t even introduced themselves to each other.
“I’m Ain. This cat is Katima-san.”
“I’m not a cat-nya! I’m a Caith Sith-nya!”
“Ah, um… As I thought, you’re a nobleman, aren’t you?”
Since she was living in the slums, she wouldn’t get any information. Vara was completely unfazed by the mention of the names of the royal family members, Ain and Katima.
“It’s not exactly the same as a nobleman, but I guess that’s the difficult part.”
Ain walked through Vara’s bedroom and headed for the lounge.
“I should probably go get ready. Katima-san, Dill will be guarding Katima-san and the others here, so if you need anything, just ask Dill.”
“Thank you very much-nya!”
Different from the nobles? Vara had a question mark on her face, but Ain just left the room.
“Please tell me. Who exactly are you…?”
“Umu… after all this time, there’s nothing to hide, is there-nya?”
“Please tell me. You all are my benefactors!”
“The boy’s name is Ain von Ishtalika. My name is Katima von Ishtalika-nya. I don’t need to explain anything else, do I-nya?”
“The family name is Ishtalika…? That means…”
“Nyahahaha! I’m satisfied with your reaction-nya!”
When Ain and Chris left the inn, Katima sat down on the sofa and opened her mouth.
“Well, I have work to do, too-nya.”
“Katima-sama, what do you mean by work?”
“I’m not going to sit around in the inn and do nothing-nya. I’ll make some preparations before they return-nya.”
She said, filling out a handy piece of paper.
“Ain didn’t have much time. If the kidnapping victim was in the Tower of Wisdom, he should have thought a little more about what would happen after the rescue.”
“Preparing for the reception. I had to call the guard station to find out if there was a missing person report, and I had to get medical care in case anyone was injured. Also, I need to prepare a lot of clothes, because the clothes they will be wearing will be of very poor quality. And…”
“Nya, nya! Dill, what’s wrong with you-nya?”
“I-if there’s anything I can do to help, please let me know, so you won’t be working alone…”
Maybe Dill was feeling lonely. Although he had the duty of guarding Katima, he was separated from Ain and waited at the inn; as Ain’s bodyguard, he felt uncomfortable.
Katima sensed this and raised the corner of her mouth.
“As a member of the Glacier family, can I ask Dill to write a note as well? As a princess, the fact that I’m here is something I’ve been trying to hide.”
“Ha! Leave it to me!”
“Fufufu… we have a fight on our hands here as well-nya!”
Katima smiled broadly and wished Ain and Chris success as they left the inn.
◇ ◇ ◇
There was a carriage that stopped outside the inn. The carriage started moving shortly after two people wearing robes entered it.
──This is the last time I’ll be confirming this, but are you sure you’re headed there?”
Graff, who sat down in front of them, asked the two who had just gotten in. The two then took off their hoods.
“We’ve already made up our minds, so we’re fine. Right, Chris-san?”
“Ha… As for me, I wouldn’t mind going back to the inn now.”
Because of her position as a guard, Chris was only reluctantly convinced.
Ain’s investigation of the Red Fox is authorized by Sylvird. Now that the unnatural connection between the Wyvern and the Red Fox was under suspicion, Ain used this guess to convince Chris to sneak into the Tower of Wisdom with him.
“It’s not as dangerous as the Sea Dragon, so we’ll be fine.”
“Sure, that Wyvern isn’t as frightening as a Sea Dragon, but…”
“Actually, if Chris-san is around and we’re losing, it’s probably the same if we stay at the inn, right?”
“No, of course not! It’s hundreds of times better than sticking our necks out. No, it’s thousands of times better than getting involved.”
“I know. I was just a little pushy, so cut me some slack this time.”
If the Red Fox is involved in the kidnapping ruckus, time is wasted. The mooring was unexpected, but he didn’t want to overlook the possibility.
Chris had the same idea, and she had no way to argue with Ain.
“Hahaha, it’s fine to be excited. But please be careful.”
Graff then turned his attention to a large wooden box in the spacious carriage.
“That’s the one you’re looking for. There is a double-layered structure inside, and I want you two to hide underneath the wooden box. I’ll fill the top with magic stones and bring it straight to the Tower of Wisdom.”
“I understand. Once it’s brought in, it will be carried directly to the basement, right?”
“Thank you very much. Chris-san and I will do our best from there.”
There would be nothing more to do. To sneak into the basement of the Tower of Wisdom, they got the help of the August Trading Company, which was bringing in the magic stones.
The next step was to overheat the furnace with Ain’s power and shut it down. After that, he made sure that the security was deactivated and headed for the laboratory that should be above.
“But there are many noble laboratories. How in the world are you going to find the Viscount’s laboratory?”
“That’s just a matter of workforce. We’ll have to go through them one by one.”
“Hahaha, that’s another challenge.”
“The power source will be shut down, so we won’t be able to use the elevator, and getting up to the 20th floor will be tiring.”
When Ain said that, Graff couldn’t help but let out a smile.
“Please be careful. If Ain-sama gets hurt, Krone will be saddened.”
Ain smiled bitterly when he was told something that was painful to hear.
After some idle chatter, Graff looked out the window.
“It’s about time. Now, get into the wooden box.”
“Okay. Chris-san, let’s get started.”
“Yes. I understand.”
The wooden box was as big as two standard bathtubs.
Ain and Chris lay down on the empty wooden box.
“Now, the first lid.”
Graff put a wooden board on top of it. Soon there was a dry rattling sound, and many magic stones were stuffed into the crate.
“I know it’s uncomfortable, but…”
“It’s okay! I can endure this much!”
“I’m glad to hear that. We will now enter the grounds of the Tower of Wisdom, so please be quiet.”
A few minutes after Graff’s words, the sound of a carriage door being opened reached Ain’s ears.
“It’s the August Trading Company.”
Then the wooden crates were brought out by those who had stepped in from outside.
As the wooden box shakes, Ain whispered.
“…I guess we have succeeded.”
“Yes, they don’t seem to be suspicious.”
“But it’s still a little cramped…”
The warm, soft touch of Ain’s hand. The darkness made it hard to tell what it was, but Chris’s voice, which sounded like a rolled bell, gave him some idea.
“It’s okay, but… It’s so embarrassing, so please don’t move too much.”
The space was so tight that he could even hear Chris’s breathing. You can say that the distance between them is very close, and their thighs were occasionally rubbing against each other until they reached this point.
The sweet smell of her makes Ain tense up as if his brain is spinning.
(What am I doing before an important investigation?)
He repeatedly took deep breaths to calm his mind, which was confused by Chris’s charm.
The sound of the wooden box being placed on the floor was followed by the sound of gears turning and wires moving and shaking. Within a few minutes, there was no sign of anyone near the wooden box they were in, and they looked at each other in the darkness.
“Is it safe to leave now?”
“Let’s wait a little longer, just to be sure. If they still find us, I think we’ll have no choice but to render them unconscious.”
The two of them naturally sharpened their spirits.
Chris opened her mouth when she didn’t detect any signs of people or voices at all.
“It seems… okay now.”
“Let’s go. It’s not like there’s a time limit, but I want to finish it during the night when there are fewer people.”
“H-huh? There’s a time limit on that, right?”
“Forget about the details; let’s go!”
There’s only one way out of the wooden box. There is no such thing as a door, so the only way out is to destroy it.
“I never thought I’d be useful in this situation.”
The illusory hand created from Ain’s back breaks the wooden box. When he left the wooden box, he carried the sword he had brought with him on his hip.
The area around them was filled with a landscape that he had never seen before.
“So this is what it looks like inside.”
When you think of Ist, the first thing that comes to mind is a magic city. But the basement of the Tower of Wisdom has more of an industrial feel than a fantasy feel. There were layers of wire mesh scaffolding and numerous iron pipes everywhere.
The basement of the Wisdom Tower was so large that Ain felt as if he could cram a whole town underneath it. In the center, there was a circular pool filled with a transparent liquid that glowed blue-green. The light leaking from it dully illuminated the underground space.
And the sight of a huge screw spinning at the back of the pool was breathtaking.
The huge device on top of the screw must be the turbine. The many pipes extending from the turbine were bundled together on the ceiling and reshaped.
“Katima-san said it was an old-fashioned furnace, but… it’s still amazing.”
Chris, who was standing right next to him, was also taken aback.
“Yes… this place is like an iron castle.”
The pipe above the pool was the throne. When you think of the energy that goes up to the ground and delivers it to all of the towers high in the sky, you get the impression that it’s like roots sucking up water at the same time.
“I think the roots are a little familiar to me. Well…”
He looked around from behind the wooden box. As expected, security guards are standing around everywhere.
“Let’s take them unconscious before they notice. It’s a forceful measure, but I think it can’t be helped this time.”
“──I guess. That’s how it ended up.”
“Please wait here, Ain-sama. I’ll be right back.”
“No, I will approach the pool from cover. I don’t want to waste time.”
“…Will you be all right?”
“Even if I get caught, my security will be fine, and Chris-san will be here soon, right?”
Chris sighed and smiled at the trust she had been given.
“Leave it to me. I’ll be back soon, so don’t be reckless, okay?”
A moment after Ain blinked, Chris disappeared from in front of him.
“Then I’ll go too.”
They headed for the pool filled with liquefied magic stones. The wooden box was placed about ten floors higher than the pool, and it was necessary to go down some stairs.
When he walked on the wire mesh floor, he heard a slightly unreliable cracking sound.
Walking to a nearby staircase, he grabbed the iron railing and went down the stairs. As a matter of course, the wire mesh floor continued on the stairs.
As he descended the stairs, he looked at the pool and saw the water surface shimmering like the aurora borealis he had seen the other day. Sometimes blue, sometimes fluorescent, it seemed to depend on the rotation speed of the screw.
When the water was shimmering with color, Ain could feel a particularly strong hint of magic power.
The echoing sound of the vibrations reverberated through the large underground space, and combined with the black iron illuminated by the liquefied magic stone; it created a unique atmosphere.
Ain stopped at the presence of a person nearby.
“Is everything okay over there?”
“Nothing unusual. Remain vigilant.”
A green-uniformed, cap-wearing guard from the Tower of Wisdom. They were in the direction of Ain, who turned away and began to walk away, but it was inevitable that they would be spotted if they continued.
“It’s no use… Yeah.”
He had to find out about the kidnapper, Sage.
“I hope you feel bad about your luck. I’m aware that I’m doing something really bad, though.”
It’s not as good as Chris’s, but Ain, who has become stronger by absorbing many magic stones, is also fast.
When the guard turned around at the sound of a wire mesh being stepped on, he was bewildered by the black tentacles stretching out in front of him. It was the last thing the guard remembered, and he lay down.
“Sorry, I think you need to lie down for a bit.”
He knocked the second one down before he could shout. After that, he confirmed that the guard was still breathing.
He let out a breath and looked up to see Chris, who had just taken out the guard above. She was startled by Ain’s action, but “Shhh!” She put her index finger to her mouth.
“I know. I’m sorry.”
Chris, who could tell by the movement of her lips, disappeared again.
“Hah… Almost there.”
He ran down one staircase, then two, then three in rhythm.
When he reached the lowest level, he stood on a different ground, polished like obsidian.
It was a straight path to the pool, with an upward staircase and a slope for carrying magic stones adjacent to the pool. The stairs seemed to be about four or five stories high, which was a little depressing.
“But I can’t complain.”
As Ain ran along the edge of the road, he looked up and saw the collapsed figures of the guards scattered around. He could see that one by one, they were falling.
“Looks like Chris-san is done too.”
Finally, he exchanged a look with Chris. As soon as Ain finished climbing the stairs, Chris, who had finished her work, joined him.
“I’m sorry to keep you waiting. It looks like you’re just in time.”
“The two of us took out the guards, too, but it was no problem.”
“That was a bit of a scare… I’m glad it only happened that way.”
The two of them briefly reviewed the situation and looked at the pool in front of them. It’s a large, metal vessel, the size of which they’ve never seen before.
“Ain-sama, Ain-sama. Are we going to be able to proceed with the plan?”
“Yes. I tried it in the bathtub at the inn this morning, and it worked.”
Then Ain grabbed the railing surrounding the pool. Ain remembered one way to stir the liquefied magic stone.
──It was with the [Ocean Current] skill.
It’s a bit of a play on words, but it’s a skill that he discovered when he checked his status back at the castle after absorbing the magic stone of the Sea Dragon after the Sea Dragon commotion, and it allows him to manipulate the flow of water.
When he held up his arm and used [Ocean Current], the liquefied magic stone gradually rippled.
The power of the whirlpool was created in the liquefied magic stone around the turbine.
“What a…tremendous skill.”
“The momentum may depend on my magic power or something. I think I can make it a little stronger.”
He put all his strength into his body and focused his attention on the inside of the pool. As the momentum of the whirlpool increased, the liquefied magic stone emitted an even more intense light that dazzled the two of them.
The pipes running underground shook slightly, and an unsettling vibration sounded.
At the same time, the screws stopped moving with a dull, squeaky… sound.
As Katima had said, the safety device must have been activated.
Ain laughed. It’s not just fatigue that’s making his forehead sweat; it’s the heat from the pool.
“I’m the crown prince, and I’m still laughing.”
“Geez… Your cheeks are loose.”
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I know this may sound inappropriate, but I’m actually having a lot of fun.”
A huge underground space that he had never seen before, right in the middle of a technological masterpiece.
He felt like a bit of a villain as if he was performing some kind of unspeakable ritual. Even though he is investigating a crime, he doesn’t feel like an ally of justice because he is sneaking in.
“Yes! It’s about time…”
The turbine began to shake slightly. Gradually, the shaking becomes larger and larger, and the pipes running around the area are emitting intense heat.
The heat and humidity caused Ain and Chris to sweat on their necks.
“Come on… we’re almost at our limit!”
A strong tremor shook the entire underground space. As soon as the impact sound is continuous, the crimson warning lights turn on.
It was not long after that a particularly strong heat came from the pool. The surface of the liquefied magic stone inside the pool freezes as the white cold air that stings the skin descends vigorously from the ceiling.
The liquefied magic stones, which had been agitated by the power of the ocean current, transformed into the shape of sherbet. These were nothing but evidence that the turbines had overheated.
“Ain-sama! Hurry up and get up there!”
When they noticed, the warning lights had gone out, and the ground and stairs were lit up with emergency lights in places.
Ain nodded at Chris’s words and started running.
“We need to get to the ground floor first!”
“Yes! Katima-sama says that we should settle this matter while we’re shifting to emergency energy!”
“I know! Otherwise, there’s no point in disabling the security!”