It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (79/107), enjoy~
Chapter 3 – Epidemic
It was the beginning of the new year, and it was almost February.
The cold season still continues, but at the port town of Roundheart, located in the south of the Kingdom of Heim, a ship which did not belong to the Kingdom of Heim was anchored.
“That’s the one, isn’t it?”
Elena, who was walking to the port, asked, and the civil official standing next to her answered her voice.
“Yes, indeed. It’s a merchant ship that regularly patrols the continent.”
“Does it belong to a merchant from Birdland?”
“Yes. They’re about the same size as the top merchant companies, and they have relations with all the countries.”
“So I’ve heard.”
“And His Highness the First Prince also said that business has not been going well lately and that debts are gradually accumulating.”
“His Highness Layfon is really knowledgeable in these matters, isn’t he?”
“…As long as it’s for his own purposes, I suppose?”
“Maybe so. I won’t go into details.”
Warren had previously dismissed Layfon as worthless, but he had a talent that even Elena and her retainer didn’t know about.
If it’s for his goals, his mind will spin remarkably fast, and schemes will run through his brain.
“Is it true that the chairman’s daughter is such a beauty?”
“I’ve heard rumors that she is constantly being courted by noblemen from all over the world.”
“I see… So His Highness wants the daughter.”
He may be trying to get the daughter in return for the debt. He’s probably offering assistance to the chairman behind the scenes.
The anchored ship lowered its ramp. Then several men boarded the ship.
“They are the ones who are being sucked dry to the bone. They’ve already had financial difficulties, and in addition to having their daughters and wives taken from them, they’ve also given away much of their property and business… to His Highness the First Prince.”
“Just to make sure, what are their nationalities?”
“None of them are from Heim.”
And all of them used to be noblemen and wealthy.
“All of them have already lost their nationality. They have no recourse in their homeland, but rather are being sought out by moneylenders in their own countries.”
“──Right, they’re certainly easy to use.”
“Despite your words, you don’t seem to be in a good mood…”
“It’s not that I feel pity for them. It is they themselves who have brought ruin upon themselves by doing things that are out of their reach. They deserve what they get. But──”
As a woman, she doesn’t like the way those women are being treated. They were, after all, the women that the alcoholic Layfon wanted to keep at his disposal.
It’s not hard to imagine the situation without asking.
“I don’t know what his true intentions are, but I heard that His Highness the First Prince promised them that he would release their families after this job was done.”
“I don’t like to violate any agreements. I’ll check back later to see if he’s serious.”
She thinks it’s probably just a lie anyway. But what could be more convenient for the men to say in their desperation?
“And bring the owner of that ship to Auguste’s mansion later.”
“What do you want?”
“Nothing special. Just some business that my father-in-law has left to discuss.”
If the deal is settled, at least the ship’s owner won’t lose his daughter. As someone who also has a daughter, Elena could not overlook this.
She’ll have to find an excuse so that Layfon doesn’t find out and punish her in some way.
“I wonder where the stolen daughters are.”
“I believe they are──.”
Elena was dumbfounded as she got the information from the civil official.
“I didn’t know that. I didn’t know that he had even built a small mansion for that purpose.”
She wanted to complain about how the tax money was spent, but it was too late. She wondered if she should have a say in their financial arrangements next time.
── The same night.
As she said before, when she returned to the capital, Elena quickly wrapped up the conversation with the merchant.
She was thinking about how to prepare a convenient excuse.
“Madam, the private soldiers have returned.”
“Thank you. What about their mission?”
“From the looks of them, I’d say they proceeded without problems.”
“The basement, then.”
Elena then left the room and walked towards the depths of the mansion.
She walked through the large entrance that Ain had also walked through and down the dimly lit stairs. She walked through a slightly dusty and damp corridor and knocked lightly on the basement door she had reached.
The door opened, and the private soldiers inside bowed their heads in unison.
“Well, if he’s tied up so tightly, I guess it’s safe.”
There was a knight bound tightly all over his body lying on the ground in front of her. But it wasn’t a knight of Heim, and it wasn’t a knight of Rockdam either.
“…Oh, so you’re Krone-sama’s mother?”
The knight said.
“Then that means you are a knight of Ishtalika.”
The knight’s armor was that of a regular knight of Ishtalika.
“Elena-sama, our private soldiers have been seriously injured in the capture of this one man.”
“As expected of a knight of Ishtalika.”
“I think you’re right.”
“Thank you for all the trouble I’ve caused you ── you should get out now.”
“It will be dangerous!”
“No, it’s fine.”
The private soldiers followed her instructions and left the basement, seemingly unconvinced.
Then Elena and the knight of Ishtalika were left behind.
“Hey, do you want to make a deal?”
“Oya, are you just trying to disappoint me?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean ── don’t underestimate a knight dressed in glorious silver.”
A feeling of rage swept through Elena’s body.
Heim also has a great general named Logas.
“…I never thought that one knight could be this powerful.”
How many more knights are there like the one in front of her? In addition to those stationed in Euro, there must be many more in the mainland of Ishtalika.
Elena closed the distance between her and the knight, even as sweat trickled down her neck.
“Take a look at this. Will you still refuse?”
“Nonsense. You can’t use things to get my attention!”
“No, I don’t think we can make a deal with a thing. Just take a good look.”
She took out a piece of parchment, and she unfolded it in front of the knight and made him read the words on it.
“Are you willing to listen to me now?”
When the knight showed interest, Elena was convinced of victory.
“──Ah, are you crazy?”
“What would you do if I lied?”
“Don’t be ridiculous… What do you want from me?”
“You’re asking the obvious.”
Elena said confidently in front of the confused knight.
“I want to pierce my blade into Ishtalika and offer victory to Heim. In order to do that, I will make a deal with you and use you as leverage. Is that clear?”
A few minutes later, the knight said gravely, “Let’s discuss it.”
When Elena heard these words, she smiled similarly to Krone and released the knight from his restraints.
◇ ◇ ◇
Now, Ain was in Olivia’s bedroom. They met by chance after bath and decided to have a little chat.
He was sitting on the sofa, having his hair combed by Olivia, who was standing behind him.
“By the way, Ain, I’ll be joining you.”
“Ah… hey, don’t move. It’s not over yet, you know.”
Ain’s hair was a little longer than before.
When he returned home after becoming a Demon Lord, he promised Krone and Chris that he would keep his hair a little longer before trimming it.
But then, if he didn’t take care of it, the tips of his hair would get out of control.
Olivia used this as an excuse to be around Ain more than she would normally.
Olivia hummed to herself as she continued to comb through Ain’s hair in a good mood.
By the way, before going to bed, Olivia showed a lot of exposure.
To Ain, who sees her not as a mother but as a relative’s sister, she is a sight for sore eyes. For this reason, he lowered his gaze so as not to look at her too much.
“So, what do you mean when you say you’re joining me?”
“That means I’m coming with you to Magna.”
“Eh ── Eh?”
“My mother suggested it to my father. She said that since I don’t have much time to relax with Ain these days, we should go together once in a while.”
“So, for the first time after a long time, mother and I will be able to enjoy the city of Magna together.”
“Yes, I think so. I’m looking forward to that day.”
While they talked, she finished combing Ain’s hair.
Olivia was about to put the comb away.
There was still time before bedtime.
He felt bad about it, even though she had done it for him. He also wanted to do the same for Olivia.
“Then I’ll take your word for it.”
“Please let me know if it hurts.”
Ain slid the comb through her hair, which was a similar color to his own.
The two of them soon had a new topic of conversation.
…It won’t be long before the official business takes them to the port city of Magna. In a few weeks, they will leave the royal capital and visit that memorable place.
It’s an official business, but it’s going to be fun, Ain thought secretly.