It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (58/90), enjoy~
After the party.
Sylvird’s bedroom was filled with an uneasy atmosphere. It wasn’t something dangerous but there was a rather worried look on Sylvird’s face. There were a total of three people in the room, including Laralua and Warren, waiting for Ain.
“That Ain. He said that he was going to claim his reward! I’m so anxious to see what he’s going to say!”
By the way, the only one who looked worried was Sylvird, while his wife Laralua and Prime Minister Warren only had happy expressions on their faces.
He no longer had any allies, and he could only trust himself. Sylvird is trapped in such a state of consciousness.
“Your Majesty, please calm down. Isn’t it good that he’s going to settle the accumulated rewards? Now that Baltic rewards will be added, isn’t it a fortunate thing?”
“D-don’t be silly! It’s not that simple!”
“Then why don’t you just say no?”
Warren said this, but Sylvird would never shake his head.
This is because he’s convinced that it’s his responsibility as a king to uphold the law of honor and punishment, a phrase Sylvird often uses.
“Umu… I’m the king, after all, and I can’t let myself forget about honor and punishment…”
That’s the thing. As Warren had predicted, Sylvird had said as much. Laralua seemed to be thinking about the same thing, and a smile appeared on her face, as did Warren.
“Your Majesty. I believe it’s Ain-sama whom we have been expecting?”
Warren stands up and steps toward the door. From Sylvird’s perspective, every step he takes is an impatient one.
“Ooh, Ain-sama! We have been waiting for you! Please come in, and… Chris-dono?”
“I invited Chris-san to join me. It’s okay to come in, right?”
Ain’s demeanor was somewhat more dignified than usual.
Warren was pleased to see that his business to the Baltic had made a positive impact and that he had shed another layer of skin.
“Of course. Now, you two, come closer to His Majesty.”
“All right. Let’s go, Chris-san.”
Sylvird couldn’t understand. Why did he bring Chris here? He wondered if she had anything to do with what he was about to say.
He couldn’t believe he was going to ask to marry Chris.
“What’s the matter all of a sudden, Ain? You said you wanted to settle your reward.”
“I have something that I want… No, I want to reward someone. I’m here to discuss it with you, Grandfather.”
Ain, who has taken the trouble to rephrase, has a confident and domineering expression on his face.
“…That’s unusual. It’s rare to hear such words come out of Ain’s mouth.”
“Yes. Grandfather… no, I think it’s the first time that I’ve ever asked for something like this, even from my mother and the others.”
“Continue. What is the reward you desire? Tell me.”
The usual Ain would have taken a visible deep breath at this point. It’s a kind of ritual to keep his spirits up.
But there was no such gesture this time, and he opened his mouth with a face full of confidence.
“Before I tell you the reward you want, let me tell you who I want to reward.”
“…What do you have in mind?”
“Many things. The person I want to reward is Lloyd Glacier. As crown prince, I ask your permission to reward him.”
Warren noticed. This argument is Sylvird’s to lose. Even if it was Warren, he still does not understand what Ain wants. But Ain is in control of this situation, and Ain is definitely the dominant one here.
If so to speak, in terms of martial arts, Ain can be said to be quite capable. Even with the influence of Dullahan and the others, he was still a hero who had defeated the Sea Dragon single-handedly.
Warren, who had been thinking that way, now changed his assessment of Ain in terms of knowledge as well.
“You’ve got the vessel of a king in your body, haven’t you?”
Ain suddenly turned his attention to him.
The vessel again?
He smiled wryly to himself and added, “I’ve heard that a lot lately.”
“Thanks to Lloyd, our investigation team has achieved a lot. I was able to conduct the investigation with peace of mind, and I was able to spend a comfortable time in the Baltic. If I don’t call that achievement, I don’t know what I would call it.”
“I’ll admit it’s an achievement, but even if it is an achievement… What does Ain want for Lloyd?”
There was one thing that Ain wanted to hear from Sylvird, and that was what he wanted for Lloyd. It was none other than the words of what he wanted Lloyd to do.
Relieved that this had happened, Ain continued to put forward his demands.
“I want you to retract one thing about the punishment he received in the past.”
Laralua and Chris still didn’t understand what he was asking. However, when Warren heard the word “punishment,” he nodded as if everything connected.
“Yes. As far back as I can remember, Lloyd allowed me to leave the castle after being defeated during the Sea Dragon incident. I would like you to retract the punishment that was given to him at that time, right here and now.”
“Wha ── Ain, you can’t be serious!”
“As you may have guessed. I’m asking for the withdrawal of the revocation of Lloyd’s knighthood and marshalship.”
It’s not like Lloyd is still in this castle as a knight. He was only Sylvird’s personal bodyguard, so to speak, and was hired by the individual.
“I’ve been thinking about this for a while now. But, what the heck are you thinking?”
“So I said. Many things.”
All but the two of them seemed to be completely out of the loop as they watched the conversation.
“Let’s call it an achievement. Speaking of which, Ain, I heard that when Ain was taken away by the Living Armor, no one noticed. Then what is the responsibility for that? Explain it to me.”
Sylvird had already made up his mind. Trust, honor, and punishment. In order to protect this, he decided to fight Ain.
“There are extenuating circumstances in the case, and it is difficult to determine where the responsibility lies.”
“The first extenuating circumstance is that the reason I was taken away was because of the illusory hand I used. So the original responsibility does not lie with the knight. The next question is where the responsibility lies. Is it Dill? Or Lloyd? Or the royal knights?”
“It must be Lloyd. After all, he was in command.”
“I see, you are mistaken.”
“M-mistaken… you say?”
A vivid sound of gulping and swallowing the saliva rang out.
“When I was assigned to go to the former Demon Lord’s territory, I had the authority to lead the investigation. If responsibility is demanded of the superior, then I am the most responsible one.”
There is no mistaking what Ain is saying, although it may seem forced. If a superior is to be held accountable, it will ultimately come back to Ain, who was taken away.
“So let’s settle this, too. This will be my punishment. So let me offset one of the rewards I was supposed to receive with this.”
“What are you talking about?”
“About the information that the Red Fox had crossed the sea. Let the reward for obtaining it be offset against the punishment. It’s a good balance, isn’t it, Warren?”
Warren’s reaction was delayed by the abruptness of the conversation. The call was the same, but the overwhelming dominance of royalty pressured him.
“Y-yes. I think it’s as Ain-sama said. I’m not sure if it’s balanced, but I think it’s more like a nice change.”
“Then fine. I’ll just assume that the change was spent on the party. ──Your Majesty, will you agree to give Lloyd his reward for saving my life?”
“I don’t have a choice. But that doesn’t balance out the fact that you want Lloyd back as marshal.”
“He risked the crown prince’s life once. And this time, he saved it. Isn’t that enough?”
“Not enough. Don’t talk in your sleep; the situation is completely different.”
When Ain heard this, he showed signs of thinking for the first time. Is there nothing more he can do? The people around him thought so, but he quickly reopened his mouth.
“If that’s the case, I’ll use the Red Fox’s magic stone. I hadn’t even received my reward for bringing that magic stone to the castle yet.”
“Wha…Ain! What are you thinking about?
“This will balance things out, won’t it? Grandfather?”
As if to provoke him, he dared to call him Grandfather.
This is not what he came here to talk about.
The answer comes in the form of a strong look in Ain’s eyes, and Sylvird refrains from pursuing the matter any further.
“…Warren. Before going to bed, you need to acknowledge the documents regarding Lloyd’s knighthood. Prepare them.”
“As you wish.”
He finally admitted it. No, Ain made him do it.
In front of Sylvird, Ain took it upon himself to grant his wish.
“But I don’t think we can bring him back. After all, Chris is the marshal now.”
“So I want to relieve Chris from her position as marshal and reassign her as my mother’s and my personal guard.”
At these words, everyone gasped.
Finally, Ain’s purpose had finally been revealed.
But the words made Sylvird angry.
“You can’t simply dismiss a marshal! When I heard that Lloyd was going to be reinstated as marshal, I was surprised, but what more foolish thing can you say?”
“I apologize, Ain-sama, but I think you’re being too forceful.”
Warren also opened his mouth to admonish Ain. But Ain’s expression didn’t change at all, and he continued to speak without hesitation.
“Your Majesty, the conversation is not over yet. …And Warren, it’s time for the King and the Crown Prince to talk. Please wait a moment.”
Although he tried to keep his tone low at the end, the implication was that he needed to shut up.
“I think he deserves this.”
“…What are you trying to say?”
“If Lloyd is to return to being a knight, becoming a marshal is the best way for him to display his power. Furthermore, Chris does not have a personality or ability suited to being a marshal. If anything, she’s better suited to be an escort.”
“Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses!”
“It’s not an emotional argument. I want everyone to do what is best for Ishtalika, even if it means being a bit pushy. That’s all I care about.”
To tell it from the inside, he wanted to make Chris’s wish come true. It was such a kind wish that caused the current commotion.
Of course, he couldn’t say such a thing.
“There is nothing more useless than treating Lloyd, the treasure of Ishtalika, as a mere knight. That is why I asked for Lloyd’s reinstatement as a marshal with all the rewards.”
There was indeed a lot of heavy-handedness and convenient storytelling for Ain.
Even so, the words spoken by Ain are full of a certain strength.
“Why don’t you just leave it at that?”
In this quiet room, it was Laralua who opened her mouth.
“What do you mean, leave it like that?”
“It’s a bit of a stretch, but it makes sense — Ain, no… the crown prince. We will respond to you in the morning. How about that?”
“All right. I’ll be waiting for the reply in the morning, then. …Chris.”
“I’m done talking. Let’s leave this room.”
Chris, who had been caught completely off guard, came back to reality when Ain called out to her. Her eyes and consciousness were taken away by the powerful debate that was unfolding in front of her.
It was here that she realized.
She wondered when she had become so close to Ain.
It wasn’t just because of his demeanor that his back looked so big, but he had grown really big and strong.
◇ ◇ ◇
The excessive secretion of adrenaline still kept Ain’s mind in high spirits.
He argued with the momentum. If he had to grade himself on what he had just done, it would be in these words. He was still feeling restless and forgot to even reply to Chris’s voice walking next to him.
“Ah… Sorry, Chris-san, what’s wrong?”
“N-nothing! I was just thinking about what you said to His Majesty…!”
“I’ve come to have Chris-san transferred to me. Something like that?”
“It’s not that simple! All the rewards that Ain-sama was supposed to receive are gone!”
“It doesn’t matter. I had no particular use for it.”
In fact, he had been saving his reward for something like this.
“B…but you did all that for me!”
“So it’s okay. I was nervous, though. The old man was really scary, and I was so scared talking to him.”
“You were nervous? You looked so confident, though?”
“I was talking with a lot of energy, but I was pretty nervous inside. I had thought a lot and planned so that I would be heard, but I was still uncomfortable when I was on the spot.”
Looking at Ain’s smiling face, Chris was surprised that he hadn’t shown his inner feelings at all.
“You used to be such a little boy not long ago.”
“I used to be small, but look…”
Ain stopped and stood next to Chris, bringing his body a little closer.
“It looks like I’m going to overtake you in height soon.”
His eyes were still a little lower, but his face was closer, and Ain’s neat face was right in front of Chris. Boom! Her face flushed strongly, so vigorously that it almost made a sound.
“Ah, I’m sorry. Maybe the excitement from earlier still lingered.”
“No, no! It’s not that I don’t like it, it’s just that…!”
She can’t say anything more thoughtful than that. It’s not that she didn’t like what happened earlier. She tried to put those feelings into words, but Chris was strongly disgusted by her inability to think clearly at times like this.
They went down the corridor, talking cheerfully, and finally arrived at Ain’s room, where they were going to part.
“Ain-sama. Um… I apologize for the rudeness, but may I ask one more thing?”
“Hmm, What is it?”
“Um! When I am able to be your bodyguard, I was wondering if you could call me… like you did earlier… Ugh…!”
When Ain was told to do so, he remembered the debate with Sylvird.
“Please, when I become… Ain-sama’s bodyguard, please call me Chris!”
It took her a lot of courage to say those words.
With tears welling up in her eyes, she shook her clenched fist and said the words.
From Ain’s point of view, she was a beautiful woman on the verge of tears. Her destructive power was immense, and her tears shone like jewels.
“All right! I get it; just stop crying!”
If he refused, of course, she would have cried. But even if he agreed, the tears would spill out from happiness this time.
“Whoa! Wow! Don’t cry! Hey!”
“I-I’m sorry! It’s okay; it’s just tears of happiness!”
After that, she wiped her own eyes with a gurgling sound.
She tells Ain with a big smile that her eyes are a little red from the tears.
“I was really happy today…! Good night!”
Her steps were light as she walked away.
If she was that happy, it was worth the effort to have a verbal battle.
Ain nodded his head in satisfaction and then put his hand on the door of his room.
The next morning was not too bad.
Exhausted from the battle with Sylvird, Ain had no memory of what had happened when he arrived at his room. He was lying on his bed, so he must have somehow made it this far.
He would have liked to sleep a little longer, but it was eight o’clock in the morning. He should have woken up by now.
“Let’s get dressed…”
He slipped out of the soft-down comforter and put his hands on his change of clothes on the sofa.
Since he hadn’t changed into his sleepwear, his formal attire had become wrinkled. He decided to apologize to Martha later.
“But it’s my day off… and I’m sure I won’t be blamed if I get a little more sleep.”
But then again, he didn’t want to be too self-absorbed.
“No thanks. Let’s play with the twins.”
He had made the twins feel lonely, so it would be okay to play with them for a while, at least today.
Once that was decided, he went to get ready for breakfast, but ── Knock, knock.
There was a quiet knock on Ain’s door as he began to get ready. He answered after getting dressed, and the door opened, and a woman came into the room.
“Oh, um… good morning.”
Thinking back to last night, the conversation did not go as well as usual. But she didn’t care about that and said in a cheerful, bouncy voice.
“…From today, I have become Olivia-sama and Ain-sama’s personal bodyguard. My name is Christina Wernstein. I’m looking forward to working with you!”
Chris was dressed in a knight’s uniform but with her hair down. It was filled with a special beauty that made her feel divine. She was smiling, revealing unbelievable happiness.
Ain couldn’t help but admire her and blinked repeatedly.
“Well, I’m sure there are no special plans for today… but what should I do…?”
She probably didn’t think about the rest.
She must have wanted to tell Ain as soon as possible how happy she was to be his personal guard. She seemed to be gasping for air.
So Ain wanted her to allow herself to let out a smile.
“You don’t have to laugh at me! Geez!”
“I’m sorry. By the way, I didn’t have any plans, but I was thinking of going to the twins’ place.”
When he said that, Chris’s frustration disappeared from her face.
“Of course you can come with me. But let’s go to breakfast first…”
First, he has to keep his promise from last night. Raising the corner of his mouth, Ain walked in front of Chris and told her as they passed each other.
“So let’s go to the diner first. …Let’s go, Chris.”
“──…. Yes! Ain-sama!”
Chris is probably the best. Even if compared to the most beautiful elves of all time, Chris is absolutely incomparable.
Her one-of-a-kind charm shone as brightly as the morning sun.