It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (66/96), enjoy~
Chapter 10 – Loyal Knight
It’s been a few days since the incident at the royal cemetery.
“The former Viscount Sage’s territory, you mean? It’s supposed to be in royal custody now.”
Ain was consulting with Krone about the inspection when he approached her, who was working as usual in her office. As usual, Ain came in abruptly, but Krone was happy that he was coming and did not point it out strongly.
“It looks like that. I thought it would be a good experience, so I decided to go.”
“That’s a very nice gesture, Your Royal Highness.”
“I’ll arrange your schedule… eh, ara?”
After opening her notebook, Krone immediately wondered what she should do.
“Hmm? What’s wrong?”
“Olivia-sama has her own schedule that day. Since Ain had a day off that day, I was supposed to be there to help her…”
“So that means Krone and I will be going separately.”
“I-I’m so sorry!”
“It’s okay. Besides, it’s my mother. You don’t want to say no to her, do you?”
She had a sad expression on her face, but her inner thoughts were also the same.
“But that means Chris is going to follow mother, right?”
“…I haven’t heard that, but maybe so.”
That meant that only Dill could be taken along.
But this time it’s convenient.
“It’s okay; I’ll go with Dill. Don’t worry; it’s just an inspection, nothing special.”
“…I’m really sorry.”
“Don’t mind it; it’s fine.”
Ain then lightly stroked Krone’s head.
“My hair is going to be a mess.”
“Yes, yes, I know.”
However, if Krone was going to complain, she should have paid a little more attention to her expression.
◇ ◇ ◇
On the day of the inspection, Ain left the royal capital in the early morning.
It was a five-hour journey from the capital to the destination, and he arrived at the area that was ruled by Viscount Sage. The area where Viscount Sage’s territory used to be was a region that excelled in agriculture and was filled with many crops. A large number of stalls, something not seen in the royal capital. The stalls were simple, with cloths laid out on the floor and goods on top of them, but Ain liked the warm atmosphere.
The farmers, who were looking forward to the crown prince’s visit, were shouting so loudly that they had barely time to catch their breath.
Dill said tiredly in the city, where the rural landscape spreads out around them.
“What can I say, was Lady Krone always doing this kind of work?”
They were at the end of their inspection, and it was almost evening when Dill finally raised his voice.
“Yes, she always does. I help out sometimes, too.”
“Oh, I see.”
Dill had learned a lot as a royal knight and as Ain’s bodyguard. Still, the work that Krone usually did seemed to be too much for him.
“I’ve realized how capable Lady Krone is. I can only swing a sword, after all…”
“No, no, that’s not true. It’s just that Krone is as awesome as Warren-san.”
“Oh… the sunset is so beautiful, but I am so inadequate.”
“…You’re quite the poet today, huh, Dill?”
But as Dill said, the sunsets here are beautiful.
The golden ears of the crops can be seen nearby. It blows in the breeze from time to time, creating a fantastic landscape in combination with the red sunset.
The ever-present smell of crops, fertilizer, and soil. These unique aromas tickled his nostrils and made him feel calm.
“How about that souvenir I asked for?”
“I watched the royal knights load them into the train just now.”
“Well, that’s good to know.”
“Shall we return to the water train now?”
It’s time to go. Dill will probably object, Ain said with a dry smile.
“But I can’t just not do it.”
“Yes? Is there anything wrong?”
“Nothing at all. Then let’s go back to the water train.”
It was a long way for a day trip. That’s why they planned to spend the night on the water train.
Since it was an official business, they rode the royal water train, so Ain and the royal knights were all prepared to spend the night without any inconvenience.
Once inside the water train, Dill said.
“This concludes today’s schedule. We will leave this place tomorrow morning and arrive at the capital in the early afternoon.”
“Okay. I’m glad it all ended well.”
After replying to Dill, Ain looked at the scenery outside the window.
It’s a beautiful landscape that is calm and soothing… and it stretches out in every direction.
“If there is anything you need, please call me. Then I’ll take my leave.”
When Dill finished checking, he bowed his head and started to leave Ain’s side. Seeing Dill’s gesture, Ain took a letter from his pocket.
“I have a letter from the royal family. Can you go give this to the train driver?”
“Yes, sir. I will hand it over immediately.”
When he heard about the letter from the royal family to the train driver, Dill was curious about its contents. But he didn’t think much more about it.
The content was a stepping stone to start a plan that Dill did not know about, but he nodded his head without questioning anything Ain said.
Ain muttered “sorry” quietly to Dill’s back.
“Thank goodness. If Krone and Chris were here, this kind of plan wouldn’t have worked.”
The girls would certainly have asked him about the contents. They would surely ask him what it was and ask him why they didn’t know.
“I feel bad that I’m taking advantage of Dill’s loyalty, but…”
He sighed deeply and repented for his actions. Dill should be arriving at the train driver’s office soon. When he does, the letter from the royal family… or rather, the letter that Ain wrote will be delivered, and what Ain instructed will be carried out.
Dill’s reaction to the letter made Ain uncomfortable.
“I could just lock the door and refuse… or maybe not.”
He decided that he would take responsibility for his actions until the end. He made up his mind to do so.
The train suddenly started moving.
“Yeah, it seems that Dill has delivered it well.”
The royal train began to move slowly. The scenery seen from the window was changing little by little.
The train began to move in the opposite direction of the setting sun, towards the direction where it was already getting dark as if it was being sucked in.
“If that happens, what will happen next?”
──Knock, knock, knock! Knock, knock, knock!
There was a loud knock on the door of the compartment where Ain was staying.
“Ain-sama! What is the meaning of this…?”
“You can come in for now. Let’s talk inside.”
Dill, who was being told in a normal tone of voice, hurriedly rushed into the compartment.
“W-why is the train moving?”
“It’s because the letter says so.”
“The letter you mentioned… you said it was from the royal family, but it was actually from Ain-sama, wasn’t it?”
Ain tried to muddle the waters with a wry smile, but as expected, Dill wouldn’t let him off the hook.
Dill came closer and gave him a more stern look than usual.
“I’ve got something I need to look into as crown prince. That’s why we are going to Baltic.”
“Ba-Baltic, you say? His Majesty knows about it, doesn’t he?”
“I haven’t told him. If I told him, he would stop me.”
Dill slumped down and held his head in his hands.
“Is this an investigation that can’t be stopped?”
“Don’t be so downhearted.”
“No, it’s more of an exasperation.”
“Oh, and before you go, let me tell you something. I will tell you what I have to investigate when we get to Baltic, so just bear with me until then.”
It was obvious from his talkativeness that this was a premeditated crime.
“When I thought about it, Dill was the one I trusted the most. It’s not that I don’t trust everyone else, and it’s not that I want to compare you, but if I’m going to have someone come with me, it’s going to be Dill.”
He knew he shouldn’t have said that, but he was glad that he had.
“It takes more than half a day to get to Baltic from here. I think we’ll arrive before the sun comes up tomorrow, correct?”
“I guess so. But I want to move as soon as we get there.”
“You don’t want to wait for the morning?”
“Yes. We have to get back to the capital as soon as possible.”
“If we move while it’s dark, we’ll be… very well.”
“You’re not going to stop me?”
“If I could stop you, I would. You should at least show that you are stopping, but since you said you believe in me first, I want to live up to your expectations.”
Shortly after that, Dill moved out of the compartment.
After seeing him off, Ain was suddenly struck by intense drowsiness.