It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (52/87), enjoy~
Chapter 5 – At The Former Demon Lord’s Territory
It was at the royal castle after the sun had risen. The sound of leather shoes’ footsteps echoed through the wide corridor. It seemed to stop abruptly, but then it started again, just like her busy schedule.
“U-um… Chris-sama? I’m very sorry to tell you this, but um… I have a message from Olivia-sama for you.”
Could it be that something had happened to Ain?
Chris thought that immediately, but the message was completely different.
The problem was on Chris’s side.
” ‘Your footsteps are too noisy; go feed the twins.’ …She said.”
The color drained from her eyes, and Chris opened her mouth and looked sad. She just hated herself for the fact that she was being noisy.
“Excuse me, Martha-san… am I really that noisy…?”
It’s hard to tell the truth when she has that puppy look on her face. However, it is difficult to muddle the waters with the words of Olivia, the lord of the house.
“…I think it sounded a little too much.”
Martha is a very caring woman. So it was easy to imagine that if Martha was being a little annoyed, it must have been reasonably loud.
Martha handed a bucket to Chris, who was disappointed.
“Olivia-sama told me to give this to Chris-sama. It contains their food for the day.”
“So you want me to go get my head cooled…”
In the bucket was a large amount of fish.
The twins don’t need much food at the castle, as they do their own hunting. Therefore, they adjust the amount so as not to eat too much.
“Thank you very much. Then, I’ll be going right away.”
From the back of Chris’s limp walk, one could tell that she was lonely.
“Hmm. Maybe the rumors among the servants are not so ridiculous?”
Martha’s murmur was about a rumor that was being talked about in the castle. The rumor was that Chris might be conscious of Ain as a member of the opposite sex, and looking at the way she was acting these days, she couldn’t help feeling that it was correct.
Chris headed out of the castle with a bucket in her hand. Even though it was morning now in the summer, she was sweating slightly, even if she remained still.
When she arrived at the aqueduct, the twins were happily swimming around, waiting to be fed.
“Hi, I’ve brought your food!”
As she called out to them, she scattered the fish to the surface. The twins happily bit into the fish as they were scattered little by little.
Lately, the twins looked cramped in the aqueduct.
Considering that they will continue to grow, it might only be a short time before they could be seen from within the castle.
“I wonder if they will grow up to be like that sea dragon? But it’s not there yet, is it?”
Chris crouched down at the edge of the aqueduct and watched the twins with a hand on her cheek.
The image she thought back to was the sea dragon that had appeared in Magna, and at the same time, the time when Ain had come to help her flashed through her mind.
He’s smart like Olivia and Katima, but he’s also so free and does things that cannot be understood and makes her worry.
But lately, it seemed like that wasn’t the only reason to keep an eye on him.
“Will you two pray for me that we can go together on the next investigation?”
The twins were adorable as they stopped eating the fish for a moment and turned to Chris, moving their fins. It was obvious at a glance that they were trying to comfort her.
“Fufu… thanks, you two. I must be the first person ever to be comforted by sea dragons.”
As thanks for comforting her, she threw the remaining fish into the water at once. The twins were happy to see it and took a bite of it.
◇ ◇ ◇
At the same time, at Baltic.
A humming reached Ain’s ears that made him want to keep quiet and listen. He opened his eyes and found himself in bed before he even knew it, having been laid up. Looking out the window at the gentle morning sun, he was tempted to stay in this slumber forever.
But somehow, he resisted the temptation and lifted his upper body.
The voice came from the edge of the bed.
“Krone, hmm… How did I end up here?”
He looked around and saw that he was in the bedroom of an inn. Before she could answer, Krone came up to him and hugged Ain tightly.
“I was worried about you a lot, a lot.”
“…I’m sorry. But I thought it was the only way.”
“Yes, I know.”
For a while, they exchanged their body heat.
When they were satisfied, they pulled apart, and Krone turned her head to look at him, her eyes narrowed with happiness. As if just remembering about it, she took the letter from the desk next to the bed and gently handed it to Ain.
“It’s a letter from the royal capital. This was sent to Ain separately from the letter addressed to me.”
“Isn’t it early? The railroad tracks haven’t even been reopened yet.”
“It’s not too early. It took more than a whole day for Ain to wake up.”
“It’s true. Do you want to find out?”
He wondered if she would pinch his cheek. When Ain nodded, Krone came up to him and kissed his cheek.
“How is it?”
Even if she asked how it was, the soft warmth of the touch was real, and the sweetness of the scent was enough to melt the brain.
Perhaps she knew this, but she smiled mischievously.
“So today is not the morning after the day we defeated the Upashikamui, but…”
“It’s the next morning after that.”
“So you’re saying I overslept a lot.”
Then it makes sense that the letter would arrive.
He looked at the sender and saw that it was Warren. If it were Sylvird, he would want to seal the letter without reading it, but he opened the letter and took out the contents.
The first thing he said was a polite greeting, as usual, and then he said that he was relieved that Ain had arrived in the Baltic and to be careful on his way to the former territory of the Demon Lord. The first page was bland, but it was as quiet as the day before a typhoon, and it made his heart race.
“…I see. Yeah, I see that now.”
The second page was written deliberately as if describing everyday life.
Since yesterday, Sylvird has been in a bad mood and has been polishing his knuckles. Warren had asked Ain if he could remember why, but there was no reason to recall or anything.
Instead, it was stated that Olivia and Chris were as usual.
In other words, they hadn’t informed the girls about the disturbance yet.
But as the letter came to an end, there was a relief.
Sylvird seems to think that there is nothing that can be done about it, and he has no intention of punishing Ain for this incident ── although he intends to scold him personally.
Finally, there is one more thing to talk about, and it is about the former Demon Lord territory.
“Lloyd-san has decided to allow me to participate in the investigation.”
“I think it’s probably because of my report.”
“About Professor Oz’s letter the other day. Actually, I reported it to Warren-sama as well. I think that’s why they decided it was so important for Ain to join.”
“Oh… that makes sense.”
In addition to that, the presence of a mysterious monster ── it can be assumed that it is related to the defeat of the Upashikamui, which was the main cause of the monster’s presence.
While Ain was convinced, he spoke as if he remembered something.
“Oh, by the way, Krone’s prediction was wrong. The Upashikamui tasted like the best steak I’ve ever had.”
Ain showed his usual tone, and Krone laughed back with a short “silly” remark.
“In addition to the taste, has there been any change in your status?”
“Oh, let’s see.”
Fishing it out of his pockets, Ain took out his status card and found only one difference.
Ain von Ishtalika
[Job] Na ■ med
[Physical Strength] 4055
[Magic power] ──
[Attack power] ──
[Skills] Dark Knight / Great Magic Guider / Ocean Current / Dense Fog / Toxin Decomposition EX / Absorption / Gift of Training / Ice Dragon
At the end of the skill column, there is the word Ice Dragon. Instead, there was no change in the strength or other numbers from the defeat of the sea dragon.
The two of them looked at each other and smiled at the new power Ain had acquired again.
After looking at the status card, Ain prepared himself and then left the room to go to Lloyd and Dill’s room.
“Hello, you two.”
They were sitting on the sofa having breakfast when they were startled by the sudden appearance of Ain.
“Krone, shall we have breakfast, too? Let’s have the food brought to a vacant place.”
“All right. I’ll go tell the innkeepers.”
Things were so normal for better or worse that even Lloyd, the former marshal, could not say anything.
“Eh, ah… yes!”
“What happened to the corpse of the Upashikamui? It seems to be a useful material or something.”
“No, that matter is in possession of the royal family!”
“I understand. I’ll leave the rest to you then.”
Dill nodded his head, still surprised by the calm talk of the early morning, but as expected.
At this point, Lloyd opened his mouth.
“Ain-sama, first of all, let me congratulate you on your recovery.”
“Thank you. Lloyd-san, you were a great help in the fight against the Upashikamui.”
“That’s very kind of you to say. So, how are you feeling?”
“I’ve recovered enough to be able to fight a sea dragon now.”
“That’s great. I’m so relieved.”
After a brief exchange, Ain sat down on a vacant sofa.
“Let’s talk about work after breakfast.”
“Hmm? You can leave the trivial matters to us…”
“I’m going to leave some things to you, but I can’t just leave you to go to the former Demon Lord’s territory.”
“C-could it be that you’re going too…? Even though Warren-dono has left the decision to me, it hasn’t been long since the Upashikamui battle.”
“I’ve already recovered, and I’m not going to allow myself to continue to rest.”
“…I disagree. There is no need for Ain-sama to go there.”
“Really? But I read in Professor Oz’s letter that I should go too.”
“Yes, that’s true, but… it’s still dangerous.”
“Count Baltic said it, right? This is the time of year when the monsters are normally calm. The Upashikamui, the source of the commotion, is not around, so it should be safe for me to go.”
Lloyd couldn’t argue with that.
If there is no Upashikamui, the presence of the strong monster that lives in the former Demon Lord’s territory that Chris mentioned earlier… then there is no threat to the current group.
Combined with Oz’s letter, there was no way to come up with a counterargument.
Then, Dill opened his mouth and said
“Ain-sama, shouldn’t you be asking around for adventurers in town? I think it would be safer for you to do that with Lady Krone. We’ve already used up all the ammunition in the cannon, after all.”
“We can prepare ammunition right away. I’m sure Baltic has an abundance of magic stones and metals to work with.”
This is also true. In the end, Lloyd nodded his head as if he had no choice.
“You can’t be too hard on yourself, can you?”
“It’s okay; I’ll follow your instructions. ──So, how tired are you two? How much more rest do the knights need before we can leave?”
“Dill and I are fine. In fact, the royal knights too. Even though Ain-sama has recovered, it’s no good if we knights are too tired.”
“Good, then let’s discuss things after breakfast.”
In the end, the two could not disagree with Ain’s words.
The crown prince seemed to be steadily getting closer and closer to becoming a king as if this battle had given him a new layer of courage.