It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (71/96), enjoy~
After the fierce battle.
It’s tough for Dill to understand why the fight happened and even what happened afterward.
More importantly, he wondered why Ain’s body… had grown so much.
“You’re Ain-sama… right?”
“Yes. I’m definitely the Ain that Dill knows so well.”
Normally, Ain would be the one who would be looked down on. But now, on the contrary, Dill was being looked down upon.
“Even your hair has grown so long, and your face looks so much more mature…”
He looked like he was about seventeen or eighteen years old.
Dill can’t help but think that Ain has grown up to that age all at once. His face, body shape, and many other aspects, including the length of his hair, have changed, and he looks completely different from before he arrived at the Demon Lord’s castle.
“I was absorbing Marco’s magic stone while fighting. I’m not sure about it, but I think that’s what made me grow up.”
…Of course, this is also a lie.
At least the aforementioned Ain was able to face Marco with only the strength of his sword as he promised. However, he would like to explain the changes that have occurred in his own body to Dill later.
“It’s a long story. So, I’ll tell you about it on the way back to the royal capital. …Is that okay with you?”
“…Very well. I’ll accept that for now.”
Ain was really glad to have met Dill, who believed in him despite the many inconveniences he caused.
“I think we should take a little detour before we head back to Baltic.”
He had done what he had to do and confirmed what he had to confirm. But it’s not every day that he gets the chance to come here, so where does he want to go before he leaves?
“Could it be that Ain-sama… is going to visit the poisonous swamp?”
“That’s impressive, Dill! That’s right! Let’s go there now!”
Unlike the way he looked a moment ago, he was back to his fun-seeking self.
Dill is tired but decides to go along with Ain’s wild behavior.
According to Marco’s explanation, a short walk would get them there. Surrounded by a lot of trees, they continued on their way, occasionally breaking branches.
The footing was not good, and it was hard to keep going, but it was still several times better than the march in the snow.
The sunrise dazzled through the thick trees.
“Oh, it’s there! It’s there!”
“Is that the poisonous swamp?”
“If it’s that obvious, I’m pretty sure it’s the swamp.”
The air is filled with a reddish-purple color.
Ain stood and held up his hand as if to protect Dill.
Then he activated the Toxin Decomposition, and the air around turned colorless and transparent.
“Dill should not get too close.”
“But then again, so is Ain-sama, right?”
He chuckled and continued on his way.
A few dozen meters in diameter, the wide swamp in front of them is overflowing with a shiny, dark, tar-like liquid. However, the color was bluish-black, and there was no particular pungent smell.
On the contrary, it was gorgeous, with a scent reminiscent of roses.
In the back, as Marco had said, there was light.
“Is this scent poisonous…? I’m sure there are animals and monsters that would be fooled by this.”
“I don’t think so. There are no such footprints around here, and not even the smallest insect has shown itself.”
The strong pheromone-like scent is effective in the natural world to deceive others. However, the creatures that live by instinct in the poisonous swamp… are probably aware of its vicious toxicity.
“But if it smells so good, I can’t help but wonder if it’s really poisonous.”
“Haha, you’re probably right.”
He smiled at Dill’s words and stepped into the poisonous swamp.
When he put his hand on the swamp, clear water ripples spread out in a circle around the part he touched.
“I wonder if it’s been detoxified.”
“…I would have liked a word with you before stepping into it if possible.”
“Oh… I’m sorry. I regret that.”
He scratched his head and said the words apologetically.
“I’m going to see the light. Can you wait for me?”
“Very well. But please be careful; there is no guarantee that there are no monsters.”
“Hmm. If it comes to that, I’ll swing my black sword and run away, so please wait for a while… Oh, It’s more like a puddle than a shallow one. Well… I wonder what’s there.”
With each step, he slowly moves his feet so that they can be safe from the sudden deepening. Behind him, Dill was staring at Ain with a slightly worried look on his face.
Ain stepped boldly forward. His feet were cold, but his curiosity about the light prevailed.
His lips twitched at the approaching light.
“Huh? That light…”
He remembered the way it shone. He followed his hurried footsteps, and there it was.
“I see… It was the scent of this flower.”
He bent down and reached out his hand to the flower that was there.
“It’s cherry red, but… it is a Blue Fire Rose, isn’t it?”
The cherry blossom-colored flames flickered, and with each petal, they shimmered in a gentle rhythm. When he approached it, he saw that it was clearly the Blue Fire Rose.
There was no way Ain could mistake it for anything else.
“It’s also poisonous… that’s for sure.”
It’s not blue at all, so how can it be called Blue Fire Rose?
“…I can’t pull it out.”
Let’s try to pull it out of the ground and get rid of the poison. That’s what Ain thought, but no matter how hard he pulled, there was no sign of it being removed.
In the end, he held it with both hands and pulled it, but there was no sign of it being pulled out.
“How long are the roots growing… it’s not big enough to grow that far, is it…?”
Could it be that the entire poison in this swamp is the poison of the root?
The amount of poison is unthinkable for a normal Blue Fire Rose. It’s not just that it’s liquid, but that it creates a swamp.
After a few moments of thought, Ain reached into the poison swamp and dissolved all the remaining toxins.
Seeing that the area of the swamp was quickly shrinking, Ain let out a small chuckle.
“Oh, it’s out.”
At the same time that the swamp was drained of its poison, the Blue Fire Rose was also drained quite easily.
“I’ll take the poison from it, too.”
Ain gradually sucked up the poison from the bottom, just as he had done in the past. The shimmering of the petals became stronger and stronger, and one by one, they transformed into a beautiful crystal.
From the flower pattern upwards, it quickly turned into a jewel.
“It’s a cherry-red star crystal…”
The mutated Blue Fire Rose, besides its vicious toxicity, also had this beauty…
It is a star crystal that spreads the word of springtime as if petals are always flying.
The sunshine of spring, the warmth of the day, and the dignity and beauty of the world are what drew Ain’s attention.
“…Let’s take it home for now.”
◇ ◇ ◇
After returning to the Baltic city, Ain and Dill hurriedly boarded the royal train.
When they met again with the royal knights who had been waiting for them, they were all surprised and paused.
“I absorbed a magic stone, and it made me bigger.”
When he explained to them that it was too simple, they were baffled but agreed.
The water train departed after Ain’s return.
“Hey, Dill… Is it really okay if we just go back to the capital?”
If it had been true, he would have told Dill many things when they got back to the water train.
But Dill had changed his mind and said it could wait. It was a concern for the tired Ain.
“…can you tell me one thing?”
“Yes. Ask me anything.”
“Is what you are doing for Ishtalika, Ain-sama? Or was it only for your own interest?”
“I think it was important for Ishtalika.”
When Dill heard these words, he simply smiled gently.
“If so, that’s fine. I’m Ain-sama’s bodyguard, so I’m just protecting you. Even if it is the Demon Lord’s castle.”
“…I’m sorry for coming here so suddenly.”
“There’s no need to apologize. But Ain-sama is also tired. When we return to the royal capital, please allow me to talk to you again when you are healthy.”
Then Dill walked away from Ain.
“Please take a good night’s rest. I will come back when we reach the royal capital.”
He closed the door quietly and moved into a completely separate room from Ain.
Dill’s voice did not reach Ain as he walked out, but Dill stopped there and thought about a few things.
“…There was nothing I could do about the fight with Marco-dono.”
What a fierce fight it was.
As much as he hated to admit it, it wasn’t easy, even for Lloyd. It was a battle of strength and skill, and Ain was waging it in such a way that made him think that.
If he had tried to draw his sword, he would undoubtedly have slowed him down.
“As a guard, as a person to be kept by his side… I could do nothing. In that case, Ain-sama, it is me who should apologize.”
He just felt so frustrated.
“Hah… Damn it… It’s so frustrating.”
He can’t go on like this. He’s not going to change if he doesn’t do anything about it, so what should he do?
“I have to be strong. More than ever, and much more than my father.”
With tears streaming down his face, he thought hard about what he needed to do.
He rubbed his eyes with the sleeves of his clothes and wiped away the tears that came from his eyes.
◇ ◇ ◇
After Dill left, Ain was trying to make up his mind.
There was a single status card on the table in front of him.
“…It’s about time I saw this.”
Truthfully, he wanted to throw it out the window without looking at this thing.
This is where he remembers the words he said to Marco at the end of his life.
“…My name is Ain, Ain von Ishtalika. I am the next king of the rightful of the Ishtalika bloodline, and the second of the Ishtalika royal family──”
The important thing is the continuation of the word “second”.
“…I knew this was going to happen.”
In the list of jobs, there is no such thing as named, which should have been written.
What should he do with the two words that were written instead? When he returned to the castle, he had to tell Sylvird before anyone else.
After that, he would have to think about it again.
Ain traced the two words on the job with his finger and muttered them.
“The Demon Lord… huh?”
A Demon Lord is born in the royal bloodline of Ishtalika.
He had heard the word “vessel” many times before, but he wondered if the vessel he possessed was the vessel of the Demon Lord.
As a person who was chasing the Red Fox, he couldn’t help but feel the significance of the fate of the relationship.
Ain von Ishtalika
[Job]: Demon Lord
[Physical Strength]: ─
[Magic Power]: ─
[Attack Power]: ─
[Skills]: Demon Lord / Familiara / Dark Knight / Great Magic Guidance / Ocean Current / Dense Fog / Toxin Decomposition EX / Absorption / Gift of Training / Ice Dragon