It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (60/92), enjoy~
Chapter 9 – A True Homeland And A New Sword
It was the middle of November, and Baltic was getting even colder. The former Demon Lord’s territory was also experiencing severe cold, and recently there had been a series of blizzard days.
In the corner of the Demon Lord’s castle, where Ain was taken.
In a hidden basement, Marco’s voice rang out in grief.
“Kuh… Uu… Aaaahh!”
The dim and damp basement was ruggedly constructed as if it had been hollowed out of stone.
Around Marco, who is crouching on the ground, there are many bottles as well as leaves of elder trees scattered around, which were served to Ain.
“Wonderful person, wonderful person, wonderful ─── Aaaaahhh! I am, I am such… Guh… Uuughhh…!”
Marco’s body is one of the strongest among the monsters. He forcibly damaged it again and again and tried to preserve himself by pain.
With the intense pain in his body, he could still feel himself.
There are many powerful drugs that are not left in the modern world. He forced himself to apply them to his body and resist the curse as his body melted.
“Haha… beast… What a beast! Hundreds of years have passed, and you still can’t take away even this one knight?”
He stood on his knees, his whole body in extreme pain.
He was still conscious. He’s still able to keep his consciousness strong. …Occasionally, the self-opening mouth praises the red fox, but he is still Marco. He could still be aware of that.
“Not yet… Not yet.”
He thought back to Ain’s face when he was forced to bring him here a few months ago.
Thinking of him, he could not allow himself to collapse here. At the very least, it would be enough to last until Ain came back to this place.
However, despite his wish, his spirit was being eaten away.
“Beautiful person, beautiful person, beautiful person, beautiful person…”
He has lost count of the number of times he has said this. For the past week, he has been fighting the curse with his partner, this pain.
“T-the beautiful thing is that… the wonderful thing is that… Arche-sama! Arche-sama’s heart is more beautiful than anything else!”
The red fox that cast the curse has a really bad personality.
It’s designed to increase its power when it comes to the Demon Lords.
“Eh… Ehyii… Hiiiee…”
Even if he is able to resist, this body has been corrupted for hundreds of years. Mentally, he was already in a state of tatters, and he might be nearing the end of his endurance.
“My mission is not over yet… Marco, you can do it. You still can do it…!?”
He is already running out of his stockpile of dangerous drugs that have become stabilizers. The thought of running out of them makes him uneasy, but first, he needs to endure the present.
He needs to endure the present without sparing any pain.
He applied the drug all over his body.
Eventually, at night, the power of the curse finally subsided.
“Hah… hah… I’ve endured today and today again… Well done, Marco. ──This is also thanks to that wonderful person.”
The end is already near.
Marco imagined his own demise after he said he wished he had endured.
◇ ◇ ◇
After a regular class at the academy, Ain was walking lightly to the academy gate. When he arrived there, his eyes met with Chris, who was waiting for him.
“Welcome back, Ain-sama.”
“I’m back. Shall we go right away?”
“Yes! Leave the guarding to me!”
Chris straightened her back energetically, and her golden hair waved softly again today.
Since the day she became Ain’s personal guard, Chris had always let her hair down. There was a lot of talk in the castle about what had changed her mind, but it was quickly discovered that the reason coincided with the day she became Ain’s personal guard.
“Ara, you’re not going to talk to me?”
Krone’s voice sounded like she was indulging Ain like a naughty child.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I’m back, Krone. I’m sorry you had to come all this way to pick me up.”
Normally, Krone never comes to pick him up.
But today, because of the circumstances, his assistant, Krone, and his guard, the knight Chris, came together to pick him up.
(…I guess things are finally settling down.)
When he saw Chris standing next to her, Ain nodded without saying it out loud.
A few months ago, the royal capital had fallen into a bit of an uproar. It was because the sudden news that Chris was going to be dismissed from the position of marshal had spread all over the capital.
There were countless people and nobles who suspected wrongdoing, but those who worked in the castle were quiet.
The next day, the news came out that Chris had become the personal guard of Olivia and Ain. Hearing this, all the people living in the capital were convinced. Many of the people had seen her taking Ain to and from the school, so they knew what was going on.
“I’m really excited about this.”
Ain smiled at the thought of what was to come today. He walked faster than usual, hurrying the two of them towards the station.
The mornings and evenings in the royal capital were quite cold these days. The trees along the main street were brightly colored, reminding people of the season.
There were not many people on the streets at the moment, but it was almost rush hour at the White Rose Station, with water trains returning from all over the continent, in addition to the last train from the port city of Magna.
Ain was making his way to his destination, occasionally waving to the people to respond.
He proceeded down the main street and came to a nobleman’s quarter.
Once they entered an alley, they found that this area was a prime location. Close to the White Rose station, close to the main street, and with a view of the ocean. The location couldn’t be better.
“It’s coming into view.”
Krone said, and Ain also turned his eyes.
It’s a newly built building.
It’s a dedicated blacksmithing facility with multiple furnaces, and adjacent to it are the residences of Mouton and Ememe. Incidentally, they have brought their beds into the forge space, so they often sleep in front of the furnaces.
On a huge monster bone that they took the trouble to get, there is a carving in large letters that reads.
Blacksmith Mouton No. 2.
“Then allow me.”
Chris rang the bell next to the door, signaling to the two people who might be inside.
Soon after, the door opened, and Ememe peeked out from inside.
“Ah! Welcome! I was expecting you! Come in, come in. Master is waiting for you, too!”
After saying, “I’m sorry to disturb you,” Ain proceeded into the blacksmith shop.
Mouton, who was still waiting at the large new wooden table, looked up and called out to Ain with a hearty laugh.
“Gahahahaha! I’ve been waiting for you, Your Highness!”
“Hello. …Could it be that this is?”
On the table, Ain turned his attention to a wooden box in the middle.
It was a long, narrow wooden box, made of white wood, with a sense of luxury and presence. On the edge of the box were the names of Mouton and Ememe engraved.
“Yeah! The material is quite a restive horse, and it took a lot of work to build it up to this point. Even if it is a restive horse, Ememe is still more… No, she’s just an idiot, sorry.”
“Excuse me, Master! It’s not a horse; it’s a bird… I mean, a harpy!”
“No need to listen to this idiot. Just open it! It’s the best thing I’ve ever made in my life.”
Mouton showed his kind eyes as if watching over a child on his own.
As Ain reached for the box, he asked one last time.
“Are you sure I can open it?”
“Yes! It will show its loyalty to Your Highness!”
Though he’s not sure about loyalty for a sword
However, he doesn’t know if it was called a restive horse; Ain had no idea what the word meant.
He gently pulled down the lid of the wooden box, exhaled, and looked inside.
The sword was draped with a cloth that felt soft and silky to the touch. He grabbed the cloth and pulled it off, finally revealing it.
“…You’re my new partner, I see.”
Without grasping it first, he looked around at the whole thing.
It is a longsword with a blade length of about eighty centimeters and a slightly wider blade. The handle is made longer. The jet-black blade, reminiscent of Marco in living armor, had striations just like Marco. However, the streaks were not blue like Marco’s, but green and blue.
Its presence was so leisurely that the inside of the box looked like a throne.
It was only a moment later that he reached out and grasped the handle as if he were being lured.
The streaks on the blade vibrated as if in response.
“That’s the loyalty of that guy. The person who was the material must have been a proud guy. It’s not a weapon that can be held by others; it’s really for Your Highness only. Take good care of it.”
The hilt is made of sea dragon bone, sturdy, and very light.
“I forgot to tell you that this sword has a rather trivial ability.”
“Trivial, you say?”
“If it gets close to human bones, it will probably glow. That includes different races.”
“…Why does it glow? It’s really not that bad.”
“With high-quality undead material, you can make weapons like this. Ah, but it’s not a dangerous ability, such as summoning friends; it’s just that it can glow in response to bones. It’s really just a glow… It’s also small.”
“Does that mean a thing?”
“I don’t know. Well, it can at least tell you if there’s a person buried in the ground, can’t it?”
When asked if there would be an opportunity to look for human remains, they probably would not.
“In the past, some noblemen used to enjoy getting close to the bones of the people they tortured. After that, they would stab their opponents and enjoy the light when they died.”
“I don’t think that’s relevant, so I’ll pass.”
“Gahahaha! Of course! There’s no point in doing something like that, even if it’s in bad taste.”
The blacksmith’s knowledge of the anecdote caused everyone’s cheeks to tighten.
There are people with horrible taste.
Ain regained his composure and checked his grip on the sword.
“It looks good on you, Ain.”
“Yes… you look dignified.”
“Thanks, I like it too.”
“Come here. I haven’t had a chance to really check the sharpness of the blade, so I’d like to see it.”
Mouton left his chair and headed out. Ememe followed him, and then the three of them also followed them outside.
“I think we’ll call it a test run.”
Mouton pointed his thumb at something.
“What are those bones?”
“Sea Dragon bones. It’s just that I have some leftovers, isn’t it okay?”
As Ain wondered what to do with it, Krone gave Ain a look.
You can use it for a test cut; that’s what she stated.
“I’m not sure how hard it is, so can I try it out first?”
If the blade spills, it would be a big shock.
It wasn’t that he doubted Mouton’s skill or Marco’s material, but he wanted to see how sharp it was before he used it.
Ain walked after Mouton and stood in front of a block of sea dragon bones on the ground.
“Ah? Oh… you have a point. That’s reasonable. So, how do you try it?”
“First of all, I’ll start with an easy one like this, put my sword on it and tap it ──── thud… thud…?”
He was ready to hit the bone with the tip of the sword and make it stronger little by little.
“…Your Highness. It’s not a tap, it’s a slash.”
The bone was sliced in half with a thud.
“Excuse me, Ain-sama, but I’d like to see the bones.”
“Oh, yes. Please.”
“…It’s been cut cleanly. Haha… Nice cut.”
“Wait, it’s not my fault! I just thought I’d give it a quick tap, that’s all!”
Ain stuffed his eyes at Krone’s stare and said desperately that it was not his fault. But it didn’t change the fact that Ain had cut the bone in half, and even Chris was baffled by how sharp it was.
“Hey, did you see that? This is amazing! It doesn’t make any sense!”
“As expected of Master! I have no idea what it means either! It makes no sense, and I’m starving!”
“Oh! You’re right; I’m hungry, too! Shall we go out to eat? I want some meat!”
“Really? Are you serious? You’re so generous; I might just fall in love with you!”
Then they went away, leaving Ain and the others behind.
Why don’t they lock the door?
Ain wondered, but he didn’t have time to say anything about it.
“Chris, how hard is the Sea Dragon’s spine?”
“It should be harder than the White King’s, but… it’s hard to say exactly how hard.”
I see. That means that if I ever get into a fight with my grandfather, I should take this sword and go crazy with it, Ain thought. Having a hard time understanding, he distracted himself by thinking of his grandfather.
“What should we do…? Maybe I should just take it away from Ain…”
“Please don’t say such horrible things.”
It’s now considered dangerous.
“…Don’t worry. I’m only about sixty percent serious.”
“It sounds like you’re more than half-serious, but should I really stop worrying?”
Looking at Krone, who only smiles and doesn’t make a statement, it looks like it really is going to be confiscated.
But here comes Mouton back.
“I forgot to lock the door! Oh, Your Highness! There’s the sheath too, so take it home with you! It’s made from the same material as this one, so even with that sharpness, it should be able to accommodate it!”
“T-thank you for your help…!”
Mouton returns from the building with a sheath and belt in his hand.
“You see, I used sea dragon scales for the sheath! I’ve processed it to look like metal and dyed it black!”
He didn’t even want to think about how much money he had spent on it.
“It’s equipment fit for a hero, Ain-sama!”
“I feel sick to my stomach just holding it.”
“Hahaha! Don’t be ridiculous! You can use it as much as you want; I’ll always fix it if something goes wrong! I’m going to get some food, so I’ll see you later!”
“Wait! By the way, what’s the name of this sword?”
“I haven’t decided! Your Highness will have to name it yourself!”
As he watched Mouton walk away in a flash, Ain thought about the name.
When he meets Marco again, he wants him to think of a name.
(What should I call it now, the Black Sword?)
Whether or not he’ll have the chance to see him again, he doesn’t know yet. But for now, he decided to put it on hold and let his partner wait for him to name it.