It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (67/96), enjoy~
The next thing he knew, Ain found himself in a place surrounded by gentle greenery and warm air. Looking around, he saw a meadow with a soft breeze blowing through it, and Ain was lying there all alone. A little higher than the surrounding hills, at the base of a solitary tree.
Is it a dream?
He was sure that he was lying in bed. And the train is supposed to be going to the Baltic, not to this warm and sunny place. But this scenery was familiar to him.
“Oh, I see. This place?”
This is where Elder Lich was kneeling over him before.
The sound of walking on the lawn and a low voice reached him.
“…Who are you?”
“Is it because of your blood that you’re so perceptive?”
Black shirt and black pants. Ain wondered why he was wearing black, but his hair was long and silver. The man sighed lightly and quickly brushed his silver hair away.
The man’s masculine yet somehow melancholy feminine face was familiar to Ain, though he couldn’t recognize it because of his clothes.
It was the face of Dullahan from an old Elven book.
“It seems you’ve finally recognized me, but I don’t like how slow you are to realize it.”
Before Ain could answer, a woman’s voice came from behind him.
“Wait, dear, are you still nitpicking here?”
The voice was familiar to Ain.
When he turned around, he saw a woman dressed in a jet-black robe that covered half of her face, with a large staff floating beside her.
“I don’t think it’s anything to be upset about.”
“If so, I wouldn’t think you’d be nitpicking. …I’m sorry, Ain-kun. I’ll be watching from nearby, so hang in there.”
After she said that, she stopped a little further away.
Then she took out a table and a chair to an empty space and sat down with a graceful movement. She then removed her robe, revealing her beautiful, lustrous hair, which was blacker than obsidian.
Her appearance was melancholy, and she was an honorable person who did not attempt to hide her beauty.
“Are you by any chance Elder Lich?”
“If you’re talking about Misty, it’s only natural since I’m here. Look at me. Let’s get started.”
Dullahan took out a large long sword and threw it at Ain.
“Even if you come out of nowhere and tell me to start…”
“What, are you unhappy?”
“I think it is natural to be displeased. I’m more worried that you’re going to take my body.”
“Don’t worry; I’m not going to take your body. I’m just trying to give you some training for tomorrow. And you can call me Ramza.”
“Yeah, that’s fine.”
Ramza snapped his fingers in a flash. For a moment, Ain’s body glowed, and his entire body was covered in black armor.
“I’ll lend it to you.”
Ain checked his entire body, though his mouth was hanging open. It was definitely Dullahan’s armor from the book.
“Protection is important. Even though you won’t die in this world.”
“…no, I don’t understand what you mean.”
“I’ll polish your unbearable swordplay to make it a little more watchable. That’s what I’m saying.”
“No, no, no…! I’m glad that you’re watching my sword ─ and that you’re not taking my body ─ but I don’t understand why you’re training me!”
“I just want you to beat that guy with your skills, not your power.”
No answer came to the question, and Ramza created a large sword out of nothing and held it at the ready.
“By the way, Ramza-san’s armor…”
“What’s the point of having it on, anyway?”
“But you said earlier that protection is important, right?”
“Huh! You won’t be able to reach me with your childish swordsmanship, anyway.”
Ain was, no doubt, pissed off. He picked up the sword that Ramza threw at him and checked its grip several times.
“I don’t know how strong you are. But don’t you dare mock people like that!”
“That guy can at least cut a sea dragon in half, you know?”
──Ah, heh, I see.
“I’m looking forward to your guidance.”
That’s because Ain’s own swordsmanship is nothing but a joke. He bowed his head and asked for a lesson.
Why did the Dullahan call him here? What did he want him to do?
He had plenty of questions, but since Ain was going to practice with him, he decided to leave those questions for later.
The power to cut a sea dragon in half… and the interest to see it with his own eyes prevailed over him.
◇ ◇ ◇
A few hours after the royal water train started its journey to the Baltic, word finally reached the royal castle.
Katima, who had no idea what was going on, was sitting at her desk in the castle’s basement. With a book in one hand and a pen in the other, she slid it across the paper and summarized what she had learned so far.
“Well, here’s what I assume about monsterization-nya.”
First of all, the way Ain grows.
He, like most monsters, gained his power by eating monsters from other species. This is something that is impossible for humans to do.
“And it’s impossible for different races, too-nya.”
The different races were originally a type of monster. This is why they have magic stones and a core instead of a heart, but like normal humans, the power of the magic stones of different races is harmful to their bodies.
It was the opinion of the researchers that this was due to the process of evolution.
They are gradually losing their monster-like characteristics and becoming more human-like… That is what the different races are. The fact that there are several recognized different races to date, all of which are capable of cultural activities without exception, is proof of this.
──In other words.
“In fact, Ain is the only person who can get power from magic stones-nya.”
Ain had done what no Elf, no Dryad, and no Caith Sith had ever done. This is where the preamble comes in.
“Then, the question is whether monsters can feel something wrong with their bodies like Ain does.”
The conclusion was that there was indeed such a thing. But there was not enough information. In order to obtain one last piece of necessary knowledge, Katima was about to conduct an experiment.
“Nyahaha! Even a weak monster like Big Bee can be useful-nya.”
After saying that, she smiled at the situation in the lab.
In a cage on the floor, there was a single monster that had evolved from Big Bee. The name is Giant Bee, and it’s a bee monster the size of a large dog.
Normally, it would have evolved into a monster called King Bee.
“No matter how many cheap magic stones I fed it, it didn’t evolve into a King Bee-nya.”
In other words, something was missing.
At first, she thought it was the number of magic stones, so she gave it more, but the result was the same.
“Nya, the quality of the magic stones is also a factor in evolution-nya.”
Katima said and put on a special glove that could withstand the influence of the magic stones. She then grabbed the Kraken magic stone that she had placed on the table.
“The key to the cage, ready! The emergency device, ready! Now, let’s do this-nya!”
As Katima approached the cage, the Giant Bee threatened her with the sound of its wings. Katima approached without fear and threw the magic stone into the cage.
“Come on, eat it-nya.”
At first, the Giant Bee was cautious, but it quickly grabbed the magic stone. It quickly brought it to its mouth and chewed it, making a sound like crushing ice.
“…It was just as I predicted. All it needed to evolve was a high-quality magic stone-nya.”
The Giant Bee’s body glowed a pale blue, and its body changed in the blink of an eye. Its wings spread even larger, and its body more than doubled in size. This was indeed King Bee, the next step in the evolution of the Giant Bee.
“Let’s let it sleep for now-nya.”
Katima threw the spherical magic tool into the cage, and purple smoke filled the air. She left the lab in a hurry to avoid breathing in the smoke.
“Am I competent after all-nya? Am I smart-nya? I’m afraid of my own brain-nya…”
As she walked up the stairs, she continued to think about Ain.
“In the past, Ain has also absorbed a lot of magic stones-nya.”
All of the magic stones that he had absorbed as a child were cheap magic stones that could be used for common magic tools.
This is why there were no signs of evolution, but after arriving in Ishtalika, he absorbed Dullahan’s and Elder Lich’s magic stones, as well as the magic stone of the sea dragon. Recently, he has also absorbed the magic stone of Upashikamui.
“Ain’s monsterization, that was evolution too, wasn’t it-nya?”
Katima had assumed this when she was at Ist last year.
This time, it was proven.
“The power of the magic stone that resides in Ain’s body is enough. If he is not careful, Ain will soon be───.”
This time, Ain will evolve into something else.
Last year, Katima had said that even if he did evolve, his consciousness would not disappear and that he would not become such a weak monster, but if it could be avoided, it must be avoided.
She wanted to tell him that right away, but unfortunately, she could not.
“Why is he on official business at a time like this-nya? Good grief! That magic stone-eating mother-con nephew of mine!”
So she gave up on telling him and decided to go to bed.
On her way back to her bedroom, she passed by the room where the butlers were gathered.
Normally she would pass by the room without paying any attention, but today she stopped in her tracks. The reason was that she could hear the noise coming from inside the room.
It was only natural for Katima to be curious as to what was going on.
“This is… the scent of a case-nya!?”
She put her hand on the doorknob.
“Gentlemen! It’s me-nya!”
She opened the door vigorously, attracting the attention of the butlers inside.
“Well, well, Katima-sama, what can we do for you?”
“I came to see what all the fuss was about-nya. So, what’s going on-nya?”
Katima looked around the quiet room.
“Is there something you’re not telling me-nya? There are only a few things you have to keep from me-nya. Can I guess-nya?”
Katima is smart. Not only is she a good scholar, but she is also a quick and brilliant thinker.
“I have more authority than Olivia-nya. That means that the only person above me who can keep a secret is my mother and father-nya…”
Katima grinned at the butler, who looked relieved for a moment.
“Oops, I forgot about that-nya… There was another person nominally above my mother. What’s wrong with the crown prince named Ain-nya?”
Thus, the butlers were defeated before the first princess’ brains.
“Come on, come on. Talk to me-nya. I’ll keep quiet-nya.”
The situation was now hopeless, but the butlers finally gave up. They told her what Ain had done on his inspection visit.
Katima wonders why Ain went to the Baltic. On the other hand, the butlers were looking forward to seeing what theories she would come up with along the way.
“I know why he went to Baltic now-nya.”
“Fufufu… You’ll be surprised to hear-nya. I bet Ain went to Baltic for that purpose.”
Once again, Katima is smart. She’s got a great mind, and she’s a great thinker.
“I’m sure Ain went to Baltic ─ to see his new local wife or something-nyaaahhh!”
If she had been as calm as usual, she might have come up with a slightly different answer. But today, it would be impossible. She had just concluded that monsterization was evolution, and she was in a more excited state than usual.
“That’s why-nya. I’ll pretend I didn’t hear it, so don’t worry about it-nya! But I have an urgent matter to attend to, so tell Ain to come to my room when he gets back-nya!”
After coming up with a misleading answer, Katima went back to her lab, looking satisfied.