It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (61/92), enjoy~
When he returned to the castle, Dill greeted Ain. Dill was also Ain’s personal guard, but now Chris was also officially his personal guard, so today, he was working hard in the castle.
“Welcome back. Is the exquisite item on your waist the one you were talking about?”
“Yes, it is. Though it was unexpectedly monstrous.”
“The sharpness was so great that it was difficult to understand, and I couldn’t just pull it out.”
“Well, that’s… I’m glad to hear that you’ve obtained such a great sword.”
Dill could say that because he did not see it. He looked curiously at Ain, who smiled with a distant look in his eyes.
“Come to think of it, Ain-sama. I’m sorry to have to tell you this after such a happy occasion, but there is one thing I need to discuss with you…”
As if it was a serious matter, Dill changed his voice and spoke to Ain. Hearing his voice, Ain’s expression changed.
“A letter has arrived from Heim.”
I see so that’s it, Ain thought.
Let’s settle this once and for all. And I want to make that the endpoint.
Ain’s words triggered the reply to Heim that Sylvird approved. Today, a new reply has arrived from Heim.
When Ain was asked to attend to this matter, he went to an unusual place.
──The royal cemetery.
The cemetery is located at the back of the castle, but it gets a lot of sunshine and is carefully landscaped like a castle courtyard.
The Royal Cemetery is a sacred place where successive generations of Ishtalika kings are buried, and only royalty and specially appointed administrators are allowed to visit.
At the far end of the cemetery, there is a place where one can look down on the whole place, and there is a particularly large tombstone.
It was the tombstone of the one and only the first king of Ishtalika, a king that even the most famous kings of the past were not allowed to stand next to.
“The first king of Ishtalika, Gail von Ishtalika. Resting in his beloved homeland.”
Looking at the tombstone, it was carved in neat handwriting. It was probably because the tombstone was several hundred years old. Some of the letters were weathered and hard to read.
It was not a place to set foot in without permission, and Ain had only been here a few times before.
In front of the tombstone of the first king, Sylvird stood quietly.
“Grandfather. I heard you received a reply from Heim.”
Without looking back, Sylvird nodded and took out an envelope from his pocket. It was made of good quality paper and sealed with gold.
“Take a good look through it.”
“Yes. I will look at it then.”
He felt a little nervous.
What kind of content will it contain, and what kind of demands will they make this time, he wondered with a mixture of excitement and anxiety.
He nodded occasionally, letting Sylvird know that he was looking through it.
There were some things written on the page that made him want to scowl, but he didn’t care and read on for now.
“I’ve read it. I think I understand most of it.”
“Then I’d like to know what you think, tell me, Ain.”
“To summarize the contents of the letter, it says, `Come to Heim. And we will decide our fate at the castle,’ is that correct?”
“Umu. Unfortunately, yes.”
It’s just ridiculous. They had to go all the way to Heim and talk to the enemy in their castle. Did they think that this would be accepted?
“It’s not worth talking about. It seems to me that the other side is strangling itself.”
“Well, I’m sure they do.”
“What’s more, what would happen to the port city of Roundhart, for example, if we went out there with a fleet? They haven’t thought about that.”
In any case, Sylvird is going to be present at the meeting. A large number of fleets will inevitably go to the meeting. If a battle were to break out, the port city of Roundhart would be reduced to rubble in an instant. One can only wonder what they thought when they came to this conclusion.
“There is one place I’m considering for the meeting.”
“There is a small uninhabited island between Heim and Ishtalika.”
“You mean neutral territory?”
Let’s say the meeting takes place in Euro. Naturally, this would cause trouble for Euro, and if it were to go wrong, Euro would be the one to suffer the most. What’s more, Heim would undoubtedly refuse to have a meeting in Ishtalika.
The best thing to do would be to choose such a neutral place, as Sylvird said.
“I will send them a reply to this effect, saying that we have no choice but to maintain the island ourselves.”
“It seems like a terrible waste of money, but I suppose we should dismiss it as a necessary expense.”
“You’re right. It’s cheap, isn’t it, if we can reach an endpoint with it?”
It would be great if they could make Heim pay for their past behavior during that meeting. Warren and the others will be prepared for that, of course.
“I think it’s a good idea.”
“I will prepare a response accordingly. Oh! Speaking of which, this letter was written by your assistant’s mother.”
No wonder the handwriting was so beautiful.
“It was quite beautiful. Heim seems to have a good civil servant.”
“Indeed. Heim is undeserving of such a talent.”
Finally, they bowed to the tombstone of the first king and left.
◇ ◇ ◇
About the new sword and about the exchange with Heim. Many things were in motion, and yet another disturbance was about to occur.
Before dawn ── knock, knock, knock! There was a strong, hurried knock on Olivia’s room.
“…Who is it?”
It was too much unlike a princess to shout out. And since it’s difficult to make such a sound when she’s asleep, Olivia picked up the bell on her bedside table and rang it.
“Please excuse me!”
It was Martha who came to Olivia’s room. She had sweat on her forehead and was panting for breath, which was not like her, who always worked calmly.
“Martha? What are you doing here at this hour?”
“I’m sorry to bother you at this hour, but please come with me…!”
Normally Martha would have told her what she was doing here first.
The fact that she didn’t was questionable, but Olivia got out of bed and threw on a gown.
“Is it okay if I dress like this?”
“No problem! There are no male knights on this floor, so hurry up and go to Ain-sama’s bedroom!”
So something has happened to Ain, and she has to hurry when it comes to her beloved Ain.
“Something has happened to Ain, hasn’t it?”
“Yes! It’s just that I don’t know what happened… and I don’t know what’s going on either…”
The two of them hurriedly left the room.
The distance between Olivia’s room and Ain’s room is only a few dozen seconds on foot.
As soon as she stepped into the room, Olivia was startled.
She was surprised to see Katima hanging from several thick tree roots that pierced the room’s door. The roots were caught in the prized white coat, and her arms and legs hung down helplessly.
“Olivia! Don’t just arara-nya! What’s the meaning of this-nya?”
“I think it’s the root of my Ain.”
“I do know what it is-nyaaaa! All I asked was why the roots were sticking out like this-nya!”
Ah, as expected. But Olivia, who wanted to check the situation first, looked at Martha.
“Katima-sama was about to go to bed, but when she passed by Ain-sama’s room, she was unexpectedly attacked by roots ── and shouted.”
Hearing this, Olivia turned her attention to the tree roots.
“I think the roots of the grown-up Ain asked for the magic stone.”
“When a dryad is able to grow roots, it is said that they have become an adult. In my case, the roots never came out so vigorously… I think it’s because Ain is a powerful dryad.”
“W-w-wait a minute-nya. If this is the sign of a dryad’s maturity…”
There is another important thing.
“He is seeking the magic stone… Does that mean he is trying to suck my magic stone-nya?”
“I’m sure that Ain’s sleeping body naturally sought the nourishment of the magic stones. But when he found out that it was Ane-sama who was nearby, he might have subconsciously stopped it.”
“Wawawa… No matter how attractive I am as a Cait Sith, I will not give up my magic stone-nya!”
Martha, who had been watching, laughed at the facts that were told and Katima’s words.
“I’d be happy if you put me down for now-nya.”
“Yes, I’ll ask Ain then.”
Then Olivia approached the tree root, put her hand on it, and started talking.
“Ain, will you put Ane-sama down for me?”
“…No matter how much Olivia’s voice, the unconscious Ain will… nya, nya?”
The tree roots swayed, approaching the floor. After setting Katima down in a flash, Olivia stroked her back into the room.
All that was left was a destroyed door and a few tree roots.
“It’s a mess-nya! Bye! I’m going to leave you here!”
Katima ran like a rabbit, never to be caught again.
“Eh… Ah, yes!”
“I think everything is fine now. Can you go tell someone to fix the door to Ain’s room?”
Olivia said, picking up a short piece of wood root.
“I’ll talk to you some other time when you can relax, Ain.”
She cradled the root carefully and hummed as she walked back to her bedroom. Martha was taken aback but quickly came to her senses and turned her attention to the door.
“I’ll have to send out instructions to fix the door.”
It was a shocking sight, but it was her job.
Martha exhaled, saying that she had to clean up the roots that littered the room…
The sun had risen, and Ain and Chris walked through the castle together… but something was wrong with Chris.
The reason was because of the story about Ain coming of age before the sun came up.
Chris, as well as Ain, had heard that he had attempted to take root and suck Katima’s magic stone.
“It’s okay, you see; there’s nothing to be afraid of.”
“R…really? Are you sure I won’t be wrapped around and absorbed?”
No, of course not. Even though Ain thought so, there was no way Chris could understand that.
By the way, Chris was told this by Olivia. She told her that Ain had reached adulthood as a different race and that she should think about unforeseen circumstances because Ain had power and absorbed a lot of magic stones.
Lastly, be careful not to get absorbed, okay? She told her that with a smile.
“It’s like I’m a pretty dangerous person, wrapping around and sucking the magic stone. I’m fine; I’ve never been interested in Chris’ magic stone.”
If he asked her to let him absorb it, she would even feel horrible, but not in that way.
Chris felt a little irritated by the words that sounded as if he was saying that he was not interested in her.
“It’s okay! Do you want to try some of it? What if it tastes good?”
“E-eh… is that why you got angry?”
When he saw Chris approaching him, he was puzzled as to why she had become like this.
With her long blond hair swaying, Chris approached as close as usual, or a little closer, and there was no fear left in her.
“Come on, Ain-sama! My magic stone is here! If it’s a little… a little… Here…”
The elf’s magic stone seemed to be lodged in the right chest area, and Chris emphasized this point as she approached Ain.
However, she finally remembered the meaning of what she was doing. The shame that suddenly arose on her face made Chris instantly blush.
“Um, well, you know… I’m not ready yet, so… when I’m ready, will that be okay?”
“I don’t know what you’re prepared for. I won’t absorb your magic stone.”
“──You don’t want to?”
“No, of course not. Why are you risking your life for it?”
Chris then gave him a sad look, but she had no idea why she expected him to absorb it.
“I can’t describe the feelings I’m experiencing…”
“Would it help if I could just forget about it?”
After looking sideways at Chris, who was half out of control, Ain looked up at the sky outside the window.