It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (47/85), enjoy~
Chapter 4 – Ancient Monster
The mansion of Count Baltic, the feudal lord, was located in a location that overlooked the entire town. Many adventurers and residents gathered in the great hall of the mansion.
It had only been a few hours since the morning’s commotion, and in addition to the suspension of the water train to the royal capital, there were other reports of adventurers.
“Are you sure, adventurers, that you saw exactly what you said?”
Some of the adventurers nodded in response to Count Baltic’s words. They had been out hunting since this morning, and they were some of the most skilled people in the Baltic.
According to them, they had found a huge white monster. The blizzard prevented them from seeing the whole thing, but the huge shadow lurking in the blizzard was bigger than anything they had ever seen before.
Everyone said that it was an ancient monster, Upashikamui.
“Feudal lord-dono, we should organize a subjugation party as soon as possible.”
“Exactly. Now that the water train can’t move, we’ll have to fight it with the forces we have here in the Baltic.”
“Ha, don’t be ridiculous. It’s a monster that His Majesty the First let escape. I don’t want to mess with it.”
“I’m sorry, but I’m not participating. I don’t care how much money is offered; my life is too valuable.”
The adventurers were divided in their opinions.
Naturally, Count Baltic had no choice but to organize a subjugation party ── but he could not force the adventurers to do so. He had no choice but to reward them and have them accept it as a request.
───Incidentally, Ain also heard about this story.
He sat down on the sofa in the great hall, and Krone sat down next to him. Lloyd is standing behind him, and he is also listening.
“Lloyd-san, there’s something you didn’t tell me.”
“Ha, what is it?”
“How long will it take for reinforcements to reach us from the royal capital?”
“They can reach the nearby mountains tomorrow. But from there, it will take at least two and a half days on foot.”
As they talked, the adventurer’s voice reached them again.
“I’ll repeat it; I don’t want to.”
“I don’t want to do this either. I don’t want to waste my life.”
“…Who’s going to pay the reward for defeating it in the first place? The guild? The guild won’t pay out money on this scale unless they coordinate with the headquarters in the royal capital.”
“Yeah, at least not without a guarantee of money.”
Ain was by no means irritated.
As an adventurer, it’s natural to value their lives and money, and he didn’t mean to reprimand them for their attitude. But he wanted to reward the adventurers who stood up bravely.
“Lloyd-san, have the wounds you said were inflicted on it by His Majesty the First already healed?”
“I doubt it has healed. If the wound is so severe that it threatens its life, I would expect it to be missing some part of its body.”
Ain nodded and thinking that he might be able to take action.
“…This is not a good time. How come I’m here at the same time…”
And that’s when his cheek twitched.
“I was stared at by a pair of red, bloodshot eyes that could float in a blizzard. There’s no amount of life that will suffice for a monster that dangerous!”
The adventurer’s voice sounded like a rant, and Ain’s heart beat faster. The word “bright red eyes” made him think of the Wyvern that Viscount Sage had with him.
“Is it not a coincidence…?”
“What do you know about it, Ain-sama?”
“Maybe, but I’m not sure. If my hypothesis is correct, then, unfortunately, it means that I could not escape from the beginning.”
Ain stood up from the sofa, laughing as if to ridicule himself.
“The Upashikamui may have something to do with the Red Fox.”
“Can you tell me more about it? Please?”
“I can’t believe it’s a coincidence that a monster that hasn’t been seen for hundreds of years is now on the rampage after my arrival. I don’t think this is a coincidence. It seems that Upashikamui has some similarities to the Wyvern that Viscount Sage had with him, even more so. I don’t think we can ignore the fact that the earthquake occurred the night I arrived.”
“…That’s a lot of speculation.”
“But it can’t be ignored.”
Lloyd falls silent at what he just said.
“It feels as if it’s trying to prevent me from investigating the Red Fox.”
“Does this mean that Ain is being targeted…?”
“Maybe. The mastermind behind the manipulation of Viscount Sage is still out there.”
While there are still many things that are unknown, there is one thing that is clear.
In any case, there is no escape from the threat of Upashikamui.
“So ── let’s fight.”
Like the first king, he had to slaughter the monster heroically.
Lloyd could not help but hang his head naturally at the dignified figure.
“No, you should not. You should stay in town.”
“What if I am the target? Maybe the enemy is still holding back in front of the outer wall for now, but one day this town will become a battlefield, and many people will inevitably be killed.”
“…That’s still a lot of speculation.”
“But if I was right, it will be too late to regret it. Don’t worry; this time, it will be different from the Sea Dragon incident.”
Because there is a lot of hope.
“There are a lot of magic weapons that we brought with us, and Lloyd-san is here. The place isn’t as hard to fight as the Sea Dragon.”
There are enough forces.
“And I think this is a responsibility I have to bear.”
“With all due respect, Ain-sama, there is no such thing.”
“Yes, there is. If it’s a monster that His Majesty the First let escape, it’s the responsibility of the royal family. It is not acceptable for me to run away, and it is not acceptable for me to sacrifice my people because of it.”
“I’m not going to fight recklessly, as I’m sure you know. I have some ideas in mind, and I want to look at a map of the area and see if I can do it.”
After saying that, Ain walked off by himself.
Count Baltic and the adventurers were discussing on the way when Count Baltic noticed Ain’s appearance and looked at him with a startled expression.
As if to interrupt the adventurers’ conversation, Ain said,
“I want you all to defend the town.”
“…Who the hell are… you…?”
A few of the adventurers noticed Ain and hurriedly gave way to him.
“I promise you that the royal family will provide the reward. I promise that the reward will be worth the risk of your life and that it will be comparable to that of the Sea Dragon.”
It was a promise from the crown prince, not from anyone else.
The morale of the adventurers was boosted by the sudden appearance of the hero who defeated the Sea Dragon.
“It’s as if we’ve won! Right!”
“Ah! With the hero, there’s nothing to worry about!”
They felt like they were on a big ship, and they regained their cheerfulness.
Count Baltic, on the other hand, tilted his head at one question.
It was not to organize a subjugation party but to defend the town; Ain had said that.
When he tried to ask why, he was surrounded by adventurers who shouted at the top of their lungs, “Your Highness! Your Highness!” Count Baltic couldn’t find a chance to call out to Ain.
The meeting was moved to Count Baltic’s office. After several tens of minutes of discussion, Ain concluded here.
“Here, here is where we will kill Upashikamui.”
He pointed to a large map on the desk. The map pointed to a lake, and nearby was a hill with an Ogre’s skull. It was about half an hour away from the town, Count Baltic said.
“But, Your Highness, this is only a frozen lake. The monsters that live near Baltic are, without exception, highly resistant to the cold.”
“Count Baltic has a valid point. But I’m not trying to kill it with cold.”
“If the ground is shaking, then it must be a monster that walks on the ground. That’s why I have to stop it. Melt the ice on the lake and keep it there.”
“…I repeat my advice. I’m sure the Upashikamui will still be able to escape easily.”
The lake is huge. It was at least as large as even a Sea Dragon can fit.
The Upashikamui’s body will not stick out, but that’s not the problem.
“I’m going to use my power to make it impossible for it to escape. And then I’m going to use the magic weapon to attack it all at once and finish the game at once.”
I see. Lloyd and Krone nodded in agreement.
Ain has a skill called Ocean Current, and he was planning to use it to manipulate the water in the lake. It is a power that he used at the Tower of Wisdom last year and contributed to the overheating of the furnace.
“L-Lloyd-sama… as His Highness said, do you have enough magic weapons?”
“That is not a problem. In detail, we brought in ten magic stone cannons.”
“It’s a powerful weapon that releases the magic power contained in the magic stone along with the ammunition. If there are ten of them, it may well be enough… but is that okay? I don’t think His Majesty would approve of such a measure.”
“Yes, Count Baltic is right. That’s why this Lloyd has not contacted His Majesty and unfortunately never will.”
“A-Are you sure that’s a good idea?”
“It’s not good at all. But, I’ve been preempted by Ain-sama.”
As before, the royal decree has already been issued. They had already stopped the use of message-birds and other means of communicating with the royal capital about this matter.
As a knight in the service of the royal family, it is hard to resist the power of the royal decree.
“The decisive action will be this evening. Let the royal knights carry the magic stone cannon ahead of time, and I, along with my son Dill, will escort Ain-sama to the lake.”
“…Isn’t that dangerous?”
That’s not the case now.
Ain has a firm will and has no intention of changing his plans. In the end, the crown prince Ain will still be stepping into a dangerous place.
And one plan has already been decided.
Ain will leave the city of Baltic and set foot in a place where monsters live. If the Upashikamui still did not attack him, it was decided that the target was not Ain.
In that case, he promised to turn back to the city immediately.
“I want you to keep my assistants, and civil servants hidden in this mansion. I’ll leave some of my knights with you, so let me know if anything happens.”
“That’s fine, but…”
“Then let’s do that.”
If the target is not him, Ain plans to return to town immediately as promised.
It’s okay if the prediction is correct, and if it’s not, that’s okay too.
“I have one more request to make. I would like to ask you to evacuate the people as well as the adventurers who can’t fight to the vicinity of this mansion.”
Suddenly, Ain’s eyes met Krone’s.
“I want to take a break, so I’ll leave you alone for a while.”
He took Krone’s hand and left the room as quickly as he could.
When they reached the corner of the corridor, they stopped and finally faced each other behind an unpopulated pillar.
“I’m starting to hate you a little bit.”
She said with a sullen look and tapped her toes.
“In any case, I would have preferred that the first king had defeated it without letting it escape. So that Ain would not have to go through the hardship.”
“…Do you value me that much?”
“Yes, so much so that I would want to be with you even if the world was my enemy.”
She giggled, and Ain also laughed lightly.
“I’ll take care of the town. I’ll be waiting for you as best I can.”
Unlike the time with the Sea Dragon, it was easily implied that she would see Ain off.
Krone’s face is not sorrowful, and she doesn’t seem to be worried about Ain either. Perhaps it’s a sense of trust, but she doesn’t seem to have the slightest doubt that Ain will return safely.
Perhaps it’s because of the relationship they’ve developed over time, or perhaps it’s because they feel comfortable.
Ain was also Ain, and he could joke a little.
“What do you think the magic stone of Upashikamui tastes like?”
“…..Like chicken meat, maybe?”
“…..Eh, you’ve had it?”
“G-geez! Of course not! I just heard it might be some kind of dragon! Ain said that the Wyvern tasted like chicken, so I thought it’s the same…!”
“Pfft… Kuku… I know, I’m just kidding, just kidding.”
“You’re a horrible person. What am I should do when you get back?”
“Haha, please be gentle with me.”
Then Ain finally moves his feet. He was heading for the mansion entrance, which made Krone think that the operation was really about to start.
“It’s getting a little cold out there. I need to cool down a bit, even if I’m overheated before the battle.”
“Yes, I’ll let Lloyd-sama know that.”
“Thank you. I’ll probably go straight to the inn or to carry the magic weapon.”
It’s a short goodbye.
There is no regret for leaving, only the desire to do each other’s work.
Krone looked after Ain until his back was out of sight and then returned to the office.