It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (59/90), enjoy~
Chapter 8 – The End of An Unwanted Relationship
It was a day nearing the end of autumn. When Ain woke up on his day off, the first thing he felt was that the atmosphere in the castle was heavy.
“I wonder if something is wrong.”
He hurriedly changed his clothes and left the room.
However, it was always quiet on this floor where not even a knight was on patrol unless he went down one staircase.
Therefore, Ain ran down the stairs.
He tapped the shoulder of a royal knight who was walking and brought him to a halt.
“What’s the matter?”
“Y-Your Highness! Now that you ask… However, I don’t know what to say.”
“…You should go to the audience chamber. I can’t tell you anything more than that.”
I see; I have no idea.
I just know that something is happening in the audience chamber.
By the way, speaking of the audience chamber, the Demon Lord’s magic stone has already been moved to the treasury. This is because the Demon Lord’s magic stone reacts to the power of Dullahan and the others that reside in Ain. The fact that the crown prince cannot step into the audience chamber cannot be overlooked, so it was moved as soon as possible.
After briefly thanking the royal knight, Ain walked towards the audience chamber.
On the way, a strange atmosphere could be felt from everywhere he was. In the end, he arrived at the door of the audience chamber, where the atmosphere was particularly pronounced, and the atmosphere was even heavier than before.
“Shall I enter?”
The huge door made a sound like creaking wood and opened in both directions.
Inside was Sylvird, sitting on the throne. Lloyd and Warren were standing at a distance.
When they saw Ain, they gave him a look that made it easy to see that help was arriving.
(Wow… what is this atmosphere)
The two members of the usual entourage were surprised at the situation that forced them to distance themselves from Sylvird. On the other hand, Sylvird’s perspective was somewhat unfocused, as if he was looking into a void.
Instead, a fit of strong anger that he had never shown before leaked out, spreading throughout the castle. The index finger of his right hand, resting on the armrest of the throne, moved with a thump.
This slight thumping sound felt to Ain like the impact of a giant dragon walking.
“Grandfather, what’s wrong?”
Ain called out to him.
“…Mm? Oh, it’s you, Ain. You’re awake early today.”
When he looked up, Sylvird’s appearance was the same as usual.
“Good morning. By the way, what brings you to the audience chamber?”
“Umu. Contrary to the words of His Majesty the First, we were about on the verge of launching a preemptive war.”
It was not only Ain who was surprised. The two men who had been waiting for him looked equally surprised.
“Anger. Confusion. And self-loathing. It’s a lot of trouble to go through.”
“G-Grandfather! Preemptive war, you say? N…no! Against whom is the war?”
“It’s obvious. Heim.”
“What’s the matter all of a sudden? That country is no longer important to me!”
“That’s right. I thought I didn’t care about it either until I received it this morning.”
Then Sylvird took out a letter from his pocket. It was sealed in gold, indicating that someone of high rank had prepared it.
“Y-Your Majesty? When did you receive that letter…?”
Warren had no idea what the letter was about.
He wondered when he had received it. The letter of intent and other documents that were handed over to Sylvird were all routed through Warren.
“I found it mixed in with the report from Euro; they must have bribed someone from Euro to sneak it in.”
He then handed the letter to Ain.
“A-Ain-sama? What’s inside?”
“…Hah. I see. No wonder grandfather is so angry.”
The first king’s words are still carefully followed today.
Because of this, even during Olivia’s commotion, Ishtalika has not been able to use force.
“Gradually. As the years go by, more and more people are saying that we should use some force. I know exactly how it feels. After all, my gut was boiling when I saw Olivia.”
“…I understand. Now, Warren-san.”
Ain shrugs his shoulders and says mockingly.
“This is a selfish story. It’s a bit of a bother, so I’ll just tell you how it turned out. It says that they want information about Graff-san and the others as an official deal. The only thing is that they added a word of doubt: “Ishtalika took them, didn’t they?” And, besides, they’re complaining about my mother and me.”
Warren, as expected, was taken aback.
“Excuse me… I just feel so lost.”
“That’s why, Warren. You can’t blame me for being angry, can you?”
“It’s so painful. …But that third prince, how could he be so obsessed with Lady Krone?”
“What’s his reputation in Heim?”
“He is highly regarded as the next king. After all, the first prince is like fat livestock and is only interested in women and food. The second prince has nothing outstanding about him; he’s just mediocre.”
Suddenly, a silence enveloped the audience chamber.
But the silence was no match for the rage that radiated from Sylvird, and Warren and Lloyd were both fed up with Heim’s stupidity.
However, the most dissatisfied one was not any of the three.
It was Ain.
“…Would you rather settle this once and for all?”
The atmosphere in the audience chamber halted with Ain’s words, and everyone looked at Ain at once.
Seeing the determined look on Ain’s face, Sylvird urges him to continue.
“To be honest, I’m disgusted too. Krone is mine. She’s my assistant. I’d like to put an end to Heim messing with me all the time. …It’s not a good feeling.”
In other words, it’s possessiveness.
Needless to say, he likes her, and if he were to give her to someone else, he would stop it even if he had to unleash the power of Dullahan.
“Yours, huh… K-kukuku… Everyone heard it! Hahahahaha!”
“Grandfather! My assistant! I mean, she’s my assistant!”
Sylvird laughed, and everyone else started laughing along with him.
The mood of the place is much more relaxed than before. Everyone couldn’t help but be amused at how his possessiveness popped out from Ain’s determined face.
After a round of laughter, Sylvird became a little more serious and opened his mouth.
“But it’s not so bad. I agree with you that we should settle this once and for all.”
“Um… It’s not by force, is it? As a matter of fact, we, the royal family, could not possibly disobey the words of His Majesty the First.”
“I know. I do not intend to disobey the words of His Majesty the First either. What’s the best way to settle this matter… Warren! Tell me what will be most effective!”
“If it’s a warrior way, it will be a duel. Well, it should be done without risking a life. …Another is to beat them with speeches. Personally, I think the latter will be more effective… to shut them down.”
“I don’t mind either. If there is to be a duel, I will wield my sword.”
“That’s very brave of you, Lloyd. Tell me what the odds are.”
Lloyd, emboldened by Sylvird’s words, straightened his back and spoke in a high-pitched voice.
Ain, who was standing right beside him, thought back to the time of the Upashikamui. At that time, Lloyd had shown off a strength that was truly inhuman.
When it comes to a battle against a person, it’s…
“I’ll show them how it’s done with one blow.”
These words are the natural result.
“That’s a great spirit. I know you can do it; I believe you can.”
“Your son defeated Logas’ son. Nothing would be more pleasant to me than to see the same result between the fathers. Whether it is a duel or not, we must first arrange a meeting. This is a good opportunity. Let’s settle the matter, including the matter of violating the secret agreement regarding Olivia.”
Sylvird smiled good-humoredly and rubbed his beard.
“It’s the right time. I’ll declare it now. I will be present at the meeting as well.”
“Y-Your Majesty? Isn’t that dangerous?”
“As Warren-dono says, it is dangerous!”
“Don’t be ridiculous. The White King will be present. Lloyd is present, too. If I were to lose my life in such circumstances, it would be the same as if I were holed up in the castle.”
There was no stopping him. He was also at the limit of his exasperation that had built up over the years.
“I’ll grant an answer then.”
“Your Majesty, Warren here would be happy to write on your behalf.”
“No need. I shall answer in my own handwriting.”
“…Very well. But I would like to add a note of my own.”
Warren then grinned as if he was planning something.
◇ ◇ ◇
A few days later.
In a room in the castle in the royal capital of the Kingdom of Heim, a talented young woman let out a big sigh.
In one hand was a letter from Ishtalika that had just arrived this morning. She was sick to her stomach that Tigre, the third prince, had snuck the letter in, but now that she had received the reply and inspected the contents, she was even sicker to her stomach.
A girl dressed in serving clothes walked up to her.
“Elena-sama, this is the document you requested.”
A woman named Elena, whose name was called, resembled Krone in appearance. In fact, Krone resembles Elena, and they are mother and daughter. She was a woman with the knowledge, energy, and talent to be called a great woman, and she held an important position.
“Thank you, Lily.”
And then there was the woman who had just visited her, Lily. She has been working in the castle for the past four years and has been in Elena’s service.
“What can I do for you? You don’t look happy.”
“After seeing this, I can’t help but be upset. Do you know how much the port town of Roundhart has produced in the last ten years?”
“I have some common sense, but what’s wrong with that?”
“I’ve heard that the Prime Minister of Ishtalika is really good at what he does.”
Elena took out a piece of paper and showed it to Lily.
“It’s a detailed report on the port city’s fishing catch, which the other party researched. I heard that there was some tax evasion, so I suggest you check it out. They took the trouble to add a few words.”
Elena had a habit of biting her thumbnails whenever she was uncomfortable or too distressed. Of course, she was still doing that now.
“I don’t even want to think about what would happen if we had a meeting… under these circumstances.”
“I don’t know if you can manage that.”
“I’ll just have to try to work it out. I don’t know where to start. The alleged kidnapping of my father-in-law and daughter? That can be dismissed any way they want. Or the disrespect to His Highness Tigre at Euro? That won’t work either. The opponent is the crown prince. But with General Logas here, maybe a duel would be a better idea…”
“I see, that’s true… No, I think General Logas would be a good choice.”
“I hope it’s only a duel… but I’m sorry… I have an appointment with Tigre-sama.”
“Very well. I’m going to do a little cleaning.”
With a smile on her face, Lily nodded honestly.
“But don’t call General Logas a thing. I’m sure it was a spur-of-the-moment mistake.”
“Was it? It might have been your imagination…”
Elena couldn’t believe she had misheard something like this. Normally, she would just let it go, but today, when she was upset, it bothered her.
She didn’t mean it at all, but she was jokingly trying to be funny.
“Oh, by the way, I was wondering when I should submit our budget proposal for next year for the Augusto family.”
“By November, I think.”
…So that’s it. Elena understood.
“Hey, why did you react to the name Augusto?
“──Oh, so you do notice?”
Lily changed her demeanor like a cat; she put her hand on her mouth and smiled beautifully.
“There’s no way I wouldn’t notice. Elena-sama is excellent for a Heim person, after all.”
This was the true nature of the woman named Lily.
In the past, she had been a well-behaved person, the epitome of a good servant, but now she was no longer.
“The letter was written in Warren-sama’s handwriting, telling me that I could leave now. Oh, it’s like a code, so I don’t think Elena-sama will understand. So I guess it was time to go.”
“…I don’t mind. So, what are you going to do now?”
“Yes? Of course, I’m going back to Ishtalika!
“You think you can do that? If I shout loud enough, the knights will come.”
Suddenly, Lily disappeared from her sight.
“You won’t be able to shout if I do this.”
The next thing she knew, a knife was pressed against Elena’s neck.
If she applied even a little more force, it would cut into the skin of her neck. With such a perfect amount of force, Lily was able to seal Elena’s mouth.
“You should be a little more careful, Elena-sama. It’s too bad you are so careless.”
Then she stood by the window.
“I’ve been told not to kill you. So it’s just a threat. So please don’t make a sound. Call it a deal.”
“I guess I’ll just have to listen to you… Good grief! It’s been a hell of a morning.”
“Oh, you sound just like Lady Krone!”
“Naturally. She grew up watching me. …So, are you leaving the castle now?”
“I’m leaving! There’s no point in staying here any longer.”
“It’s a pity because I liked you very much.”
“If you feel that way, will you come with me?”
Lily’s words reached her ears like the whispers of a devil.
If she went to Ishtalika, she would be reunited with her beloved daughter and see her father-in-law again. That sounds very appealing to Elena… But…
“I’m afraid I must refuse. I still love Heim. It’s the homeland I’ve lived in all my life.”
“Oh, yes, yes. That’s unfortunate.”
“While you’re at it, why don’t you tell me. How is Krone doing?”
She received the letter. She was able to know how Krone was doing, but she wanted to hear from the people of Ishtalika about how she was doing.
“Well, if you ask me, it’s been a long time since I’ve been back to Ishtalika…”
Considering the journey from Heim to Ishtalika. It’s not that easy to get back home.
Lily, like Elena, has done a great deal of work.
“So, do you mind if we talked about Lady Krone two months ago?”
“That’s not so recent!”
Lily stuck out her tongue and made a joking face while laughing.
“Fufufu. I’ll just say that she seems to be having a lot of fun.”
Then Lily opened the window and leaned out.
This room was on the upper floor of the castle, so a normal fall would have been enough to kill her.
“I’ll give you one last piece of advice. If you don’t want to fight with Lady Krone, you should stop those royalties, Elena-sama.”
Elena followed Lily to the window, hoping to get a little more specific. But before she could catch up, Lily jumped down.
When she looked out the window, she saw that Lily was already nowhere to be seen.
“…I never thought I would put the phrase ‘Disappears into thin air.’ to put into practice.”
Now, where to start?
Elena sighs deeply at the fact that she is being investigated one way or the other.
In contrast to Elena’s state of mind, the view from the window was a clear blue sky.