It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (45/85), enjoy~
It was about half a day’s journey from the royal capital. Ain had traveled a long distance north, seeing new sights as he went. Although he had heard that the land was very cold, he had already had a chance to see snow a few hours ago, which surprised Ain.
The moonlight now illuminated the mountains that had been shining in the setting sun.
Just as they were about to arrive at the Baltic station, the train shook violently.
“Don’t worry. It’ll stop soon.”
He grabbed Krone’s hand and gave her a sense of security.
The shaking continued for ten or twenty seconds, and during this time, the royal water train also stopped. Soon they heard a knock on the door, and Ain left Krone’s side for a moment.
When he opened the door, he was met by Dill.
“Please excuse me. I was told that there was a sudden earthquake and that the train had stopped.”
“I know. Do you think it will be moving soon?”
“I’m told they’re just doing a quick check to make sure.”
Soon enough, the sound of the reactor restarting could be heard.
“It seems to be okay.”
“Yes, it seems fine. Then I’ll be going now. I will come back if there is anything else.”
As soon as he saw Dill go, Ain returned to Krone’s side.
After that, there was not a single shake again. From the window of the water train on the way to the Baltic, the night view was the same as before. The quiet night scenery, as if nothing had happened, made the shock of what had just happened immediately forgotten.
After another few moments, the water train finally arrived at Baltic. Ain’s lungs were filled with the cool but fresh air as he opened the window.
“The time is… yeah. It looks like we managed to get here before the sun changed.”
Unlike normal trains, the royal train doesn’t go according to a set time. This is because they repeatedly accelerate and decelerate while monitoring the situation on the road. And there was an earthquake today.
Ain and Krone, carrying light luggage, stood at the entrance of the train. Already feeling the coldness of the snow from here, Ain shivered involuntarily.
“Eh, it’s so cold! Are we really on the same continent?”
“It’s the same continent. Now come here. You need to keep your neck warm as well.”
Krone put a long, wooly, comfortable scarf around Ain’s neck.
The difference in height between the two of them had narrowed considerably. They are almost the same height now, and by the end of the year, Ain will surpass her.
Ain realized that he has grown up a lot.
Ain thanked her and exited the train. He looked at the scenery of the station, which he had never seen before, and tried to touch the outside of the train.
It was as if he had touched the ice, and the coldness stung his skin.
“It’s cold! It’s so cold!”
“Why did you touch it…? Come on, give me your hand.”
He held out his hand as he was told, and Krone wrapped her hand around Ain’s.
“…I think I’m the first crown prince ever to make an assistant do this?”
“Oh, Your Highness, were you aware of that?”
He can only be grateful to Krone for taking care of his fingers despite her complaints.
Is it because he has a dirty mind that her appearance of rubbing his fingers is somewhat suggestive? …Ain felt sorry for something.
“Yes, that’s it. …What’s wrong with your face? Are you embarrassed?”
“Let’s just say it’s the cold that’s making me red.”
“Fufu… Understood. Your Highness.”
As it is, it looks like they’re just here to flirt.
…Thankfully, Dill and the others were in a different train carriage.
“Let’s go then. It’s our first time in the Baltic.”
He cleared his throat lightly and regained his composure.
This is how Ain took his first steps into the adventurer’s town of Baltic.
Baltic is a city surrounded by high walls.
The water train went under the outer wall and entered the city, stopping at a station in the middle of the wall. Ain accompanied Krone into the station and then met up with Dill and Lloyd.
Then Dill exhaled a white breath and said,
“There was an earthquake, but I’m glad we arrived safely. Now, let’s see…”
Dill glanced at Lloyd, who was standing next to him. He seemed to be about to say something, but the words didn’t come out.
But Lloyd immediately understood his intentions.
“When it comes to addressing me now, Lloyd-sama is more appropriate. In the past, it would have been His Excellency the Marshal.”
“Lloyd-san. Since it’s just Krone and me, let’s all talk as usual.”
“…So that’s it, Dill. It’s because of your inadequacy that His Highness took care of you, and you should be grateful.”
As they were talking, they left the station.
The scene outside is completely different from the royal capital, the port city of Magna, or the magic city of Ist.
Snow covered the entire city, and the lights of the houses reflected in the falling snow.
Ain turned his attention to the town.
He was surprised by the solid look of the outer walls that surrounded it and was distracted by the heavy iron gates. When he turned his attention to the town, he was struck by the unique buildings.
“It’s an interesting town, isn’t it, Baltic?”
In front of the buildings, there were signs made of what looked like monster bones.
The snow was falling, but the cold didn’t seem to bother the blacksmiths who were vigorously hammering iron in their stores.
In the orange-lit restaurant, adventurers were slurping down drinks and laughing, and their conversations as they walked toward the gate were filled with the tension of the night’s hunt.
“It’s really a town of adventurers.”
“Umu, it must be quite exciting here! Now, Ain-sama, I’d like to share a bit of trivia with you. Look over there.”
Lloyd pointed to the bones displayed in the large restaurant.
“Those are the bones of a monster, but they’re actually the rating of the restaurant itself.”
“….Bones are the restaurant’s rating?”
“The bones are expensive. The bigger the bone, the greater the strength of the monster that owned it. This is why only powerful adventurers can hunt them… In other words, the price of the material itself is also high.”
“I see; that’s typical of this town. But how did it end up with bones?”
“Hahahaha! There’s a reason for that, too! I think you will see it soon!”
Ain didn’t know what that meant. It was rather pretentious, but it was swept away by a hearty laugh.
Ain exhaled, and then Krone asked Lloyd.
“By the way, Lloyd-sama, do you think Ain is not very welcome here?”
“Hmm? What makes you think that?”
“Because none of the Baltic people have reacted to Ain.”
“To sum it up, it’s not that he is not welcomed. In fact, the adventurers have a high opinion of Ain-sama. After all, he single-handedly defeated a Sea Dragon.”
If that’s the case, then why?
“The reason is simple. The information about Ain-sama’s arrival has probably been posted in the guild. But this is where the problem arises.”
The other three listened to Lloyd. There was a certain tension in the air, but Lloyd’s words quickly erased it.
“They don’t look at any communication from the country, no matter which guild it is! So that’s probably the reason for this too! Hahahahahaha!”
Hearing the reason, the three of them lost their strength.
Ain wondered whether it was okay to laugh off ignoring communications from the state. Even Ain, who would eventually succeed to the throne, naturally raised the corners of his mouth in an adventurer-like manner.
“So now we’re almost at the point.”
Lloyd told him to look over there, and Ain turned his attention to the destination.
In the back of the forest, surrounded by trees, there was a small hill. The area’s topography was distorted as if it had been gouged out, but there was a huge skull sitting on the hill with a presence that overshadowed the distortion.
“That monster, which suddenly appeared like a Sea Dragon, was defeated by His Majesty the First. The sharp fangs on the only remaining sturdy skull had slaughtered even a herd of Wyverns with a single bite. Its claws are said to have been strong enough to gouge the earth and collapse mountains. It is because of those bones that this town began to imitate His Majesty the First and display them.”
The symbol of Ist was the Tower of Wisdom. The symbol of this Balto would be the bones of the monsters in their line of sight.
The only remnant of the huge body is the skull, but it is as big as a ten-story building. The skull, similar to a human’s, had sharp fangs that showed the fierceness of the creature before it was born and a single horn that extended upward to pierce the sky.
“What kind of monster was that…?”
“It doesn’t exist anymore, but it’s a monster called an Ogre.”
As the word suggests, it’s a demonic being.
“You can see the streak of scarring on its skull. That’s the wound where the first king took its life.”
He let out a sigh of honest admiration.
“According to the records, it only took one blow to split the skull and break the magic stone.
“──Oya? That sounds familiar.”
“What’s up, Dill? What’s going on?”
“N-no, I thought that there was one person in the current royal family who used a similar technique to defeat a powerful sea monster.”
Suddenly, everyone’s eyes lit up. They all looked at Ain’s face at the same time.
“It’s true. You fight like the first king.”
“Um, Lloyd-san? I’ve got an illusory hand in my case, you know?”
“Even so, yeah. According to folklore, the Ogre escaped from a certain monster and went down to the human village to attack the inhabitants. It’s not that the Sea Dragon escaped, but in terms of attacking people, it’s the same thing.”
Although he was suddenly compared to the first king, Ain’s mood was not affected. He can’t help it because the comparison is to someone he admires.
“You look happy, Ain.”
When Krone pointed out his loose cheeks, he hurried to the inn to hide his embarrassment. But this turned out to be a good thing. As soon as the four of them entered the inn, the town of Baltic was covered by an intense snowstorm.