It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (73/104), enjoy~
Chapter 1 – The Crown Prince Has Grown
It was around ten o’clock in the evening, but the audience hall was unusually well illuminated.
Several adults were gathered here, questioning King Sylvird.
“So, father! What on earth did you ask Ain to do?”
The one who had lost her usual gracefulness and was asking desperately was Olivia.
She has the appearance of a pearl, and her glossy brown hair is shaking as she closes in on Sylvird. She was worried about Ain, who had presented her with a star crystal that swayed on her chest.
“C-calm down, Olivia…!”
But even when pressed like this, Sylvird had no answer.
In any case, any communication that arrives at Sylvird will be delayed because it will have to come from the Baltic. The only message he received was that he wanted Olivia and the others to keep quiet about it.
The next person to speak to him was Krone.
“Krone! Please tell Olivia what you know!”
Before she could tell him that she didn’t know anything about it, Krone said.
“With all due respect, Your Majesty, what did you order Ain to do?”
Maybe Krone was… thinking about it, but she was just as worried about Ain. Her expression was calm, but her words were sharp.
She was closing the distance between her and Sylvird with swift steps; her proud silver-blue hair swept wide. Her purple crystal eyes, reflecting her beautiful white porcelain skin, were pointed straight at him.
There was a power in them that made him want to avert his gaze.
“Good gracious, Your Majesty. It seems to be quite a challenge.”
“Wa-Warren! Don’t just laugh and rub your beard; you should do something about it…”
“I apologize, but I have not heard anything either. So, if anything, I am on their side.”
The prime minister is not on his side either.
Kuh ── what is that crown prince doing!? Sylvird thought.
If he is departing from Baltic, he should be arriving by now. As Sylvird thought that, the door to the audience room was opened.
“E-everyone, I see you are all here.”
The one who entered the room was Martha, the first-class servant. She seemed to be in a hurry, catching her breath.
“Oh, Martha! What brings you here so suddenly?”
Is this what they call a godsend? Sylvird approached Martha, who had suddenly arrived, and spoke to her more casually than usual.
“Um… Ain-sama has returned….. but…”
It was great news.
“Ain is back?”
Olivia asked gleefully.
“Y-yes. Indeed, Ain-sama is back… It should be, but…”
Olivia and Krone’s expressions darkened with anxiety when they heard Martha’s slurred speech.
“Could it be that something has happened to Ain?”
“I’m not sure what to say… but it seems he’s gotten bigger…”
Everyone in the audience room had no idea what that meant.
When everyone was confused, Martha said, “I think you should see him in person… He’s waiting for you in the hall, and you can all come and see him.”
They knew that Ain had left, but they had no idea what had happened.
Everyone left the audience room and headed for the great hall to see for themselves.
◇ ◇ ◇
Let’s go a little back in time.
It was shortly after the royal water train returned to the royal capital when Ain got off at the White Rose station.
(What was that dream I had earlier?)
From the names that appeared in the dream, it must be the memories of Dullahan and Elder Lich.
If that was the case, then the Demon Lord Arche’s character was calm itself. It’s not as if the girl was really trying to bring disaster to the entire continent.
“──I knew she was deliberately made to go out of control.”
He muttered to himself as he gritted his teeth and reached into his pants pocket. He touched the cherry-red star crystal he’d been holding in his hand and reconfirmed that what he’d done yesterday hadn’t been a dream.
“Ain-sama, did you say something?”
It was Dill, his personal bodyguard, who asked.
“No, it’s nothing. …Well, we’re finally home.”
“It’s been an unexpectedly long journey. I don’t want to tell you why it took so long, though.”
“I know, I know, I’ll be more careful next time!”
By the way, Ain felt fresh just walking around.
The reason is that his body has become bigger due to his transformation into a Demon Lord. His stride was different, and above all, the height of his gaze was completely different. The White Rose station, where he was used to walking, seemed to be different from usual.
“First of all, let’s hurry up.”
“That’s right. The people of the royal capital have yet to see me as I am now──”
“I’m afraid not. It’s for the sake of His Majesty and everyone else waiting in the castle.”
“…Let us hasten greatly, shall we?”
They hurriedly left the premises. He went into the carriage that had been prepared for him outside as if to hide.
──When Ain arrived at the castle, he received a different kind of gaze than usual.
This is because of Ain’s current appearance.
Who on earth is that? The people who work at the castle were looking at him wide-eyed. The person walking next to Dill looked like Olivia, but he also looked like Ain. If they were to say, he looked like a grown-up version of Ain; he could honestly be believed to be ── a member of the royal family of Ishtalika.
But there is no such royal family. This is why they were so confused.
Then Ain said as he placed the luggage he had brought on the floor.
“Are you there, Martha-san?”
The slightly loud voice he used was exactly that of Ain.
His voice was a little louder than the one that had been heard the other day, and it sounded like a slight change of voice. But there was no way she could mistake Ain’s voice.
Then, from somewhere inside the castle, Martha arrived in a flash.
As soon as she arrived, she bowed to Ain and immediately looked at her son, Dill.
“Where is Ain-sama who is supposed to be back?”
“He’s right next to me.”
What a foolish thing to say, Martha thought, and she wanted to kick Dill out, but there’s no way she could do that.
Martha had seen Ain as soon as she arrived and had thought, “No way.” But the unrealistic phenomenon was too much for her to comprehend right away.
“Could it really be you, Ain-sama…”
“I’ve been through a lot, and I’ve grown up. I’ll tell you more after I talk to my grandfather.”
“I don’t know what’s going on, but… I understand. The only thing I can tell you is that you need a change of clothes now, Ain-sama?”
When she looked at Ain’s feet and hands, he was obviously not wearing the correct length.
“I think I’ll ask for that as well. And can you tell my grandfather that I’m back? I’ll remain here to do some unpacking.”
He looked tired but still smiled like he always did.
“Also, if you could give me a string to tie my hair with, that would be great. It has grown too long, and I need it.”
His hair was as long as Olivia’s.
With makeup on his face, it could look like there were two Olivias. There was still a trace of boyishness in his face, but there was also a hint of sexiness in the way he squinted his eyes.
“I’ll go tell them. I’ll bring you something to tie your hair with, so please wait a moment.”
“Hmm, that’s okay.”
After watching Martha walk away, Ain turned his attention to the luggage he had brought.
He opened his mouth as he unpacked.
“Oh, by the way, Dill…”
“What is it?”
“Well, next time you’re free, why don’t you go shopping with me?”
In response to Ain’s abrupt words, Dill stopped reaching for his luggage.
“I will be happy to accompany you, but what kind of shopping?”
“I want to buy clothes now that I’m getting bigger. So could you come with me?”
“In that case, I’ll introduce you to a store I use all the time.”
The two of them acted as usual. They were acting as usual, which was also strange to those around them, and they couldn’t help but wonder what was going on in their minds.
When no one had any answers, a fine person walked up to the scene.
“Ain-sama! Welcome back──.”
The person who said that was Chris, the personal guard of Ain and Olivia.
Her blue jade eyes outshine any jewel, and she is the beauty that Ain called the moon goddess the other day. She came in with her hair down, unlike before, and her golden hair was swaying.
“Welcome back….. huh…..?”
If she had a tail, she would have wagged it vigorously.
She was so happy to see Ain return to the castle, but her vigorous gait became calmer as she approached Ain, and when she was a few steps away, she stopped, looking confused.
She maintained a delicate distance from him, like a cat watching its master after a long absence.
“I’m home, Chris.”
Ain said, “I’m so sorry I’m a little late,” narrowing his eyes apologetically.
“…H-huh? Are you… Ain-sama?”
“Yes. I’m Ain.”
Ain stopped unpacking and approached Chris.
When he approached, his appearance was different from what she had seen before. It was natural for Chris to flinch.
“How did you get so big… and grow your hair so long?”
The height difference between the two of them hadn’t changed much recently. But now, Ain was clearly taller than her.
“I’ve been through a lot.”
Chris looked up at Ain, who replied, blinking repeatedly.
“You’ve become dignified… I think it’s wonderful… But I was worried that you really are Ain-sama.”
“This is the outfit I always wore, right? And this sword.”
He proved it with gestures, and Ain smiled his usual smile.
“Can I get a closer look?”
“I think it’s close enough, but sure.”
There were only about two more steps between them. But Chris closed the distance even further, to a few centimeters.
Eh? Ain’s mouth was half open in surprise at her behavior.
If his eyes were right, Chris was using her nose more than her eyes. Her face was close to Ain’s chest, and she was using her nose without worrying about the eyes around her.
What was it that she said she would look at?
Chris’s breath was on his chest, tickling him a little.
Chris nodded in a satisfied manner.
“You’re really ── really Ain-sama, aren’t you?”
Then she looked up happily and finally came to believe that it really was Ain.
(That’s how you figured it out…?)
It seemed that Chris had further evolved her loyal dog level while he hadn’t seen her for a few days, but he didn’t think there was such a way to identify him.
Soon, the voices of the new ones arrived.
“Oh, Ain! You’re finally──.”
The surprise that Sylvird and the others showed when they arrived was as brilliant as Chris’.