It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (88/110), enjoy~
Chapter 7 – Her Family Name
Several days have passed since the incident with the Ripple Tree.
On this day, Ain took Dill and the royal knights to a facility in the harbor.
“The parts that are made here are also brought in to the Tower of Wisdom in Ist──”
As the guide explained, Ain stared at the scene of the work.
With loupes on their eyes, the craftsmen made small parts by hand. They were incredibly dexterous, making parts so small you could barely see them if you squinted.
“Dill, that is amazing.”
“It’s truly craftsmanship. It’s a different kind of craftsmanship than that of Mouton, the blacksmith.”
Dill, who was walking next to Ain, told him what he thought of the craftsman.
“This is the section where His Majesty’s predecessor made a great investment. Thanks to him, it is still a great place for craftsmen to work.”
That’s a good thing.
When Ain heard about the measures left by his predecessor, he was determined to do his best.
“I’ll have to learn from him. By the way, do merchants also come here to buy goods?”
“As the Crown Prince said, merchants from all over the continent come here to buy… No, in fact, researchers from Ist sometimes come here as well.”
“Heh… That’s great. It sounds like a great researcher to come and see for himself.”
“That’s right. Actually, the group has been here for a few days now.”
There was a rumor going around regarding this.
The guide noticed the group’s presence nearby and turned his hand to inform Ain.
“There’s a man here who’s famous among researchers.”
Then the guide said, “That’s the man over there.”
What did he look like?
Ain was curious and turned his attention to him.
The person who was there was Oz, walking with several researchers. He was dressed in a pure white lab coat and seemed to be carefully inspecting the parts.
“Oh, you know him?”
“Y-yeah… I had business with him before.”
“I see. As I recall, those people are returning to Ist this evening.”
It’s probably a good thing that they met here.
“Shall we go and say hello?”
Dill nodded immediately at Ain’s suggestion.
With his agreement, Ain moved forward in front of Oz.
◇ ◇ ◇
It was late afternoon, and Ain was visiting a harbor corner. However, it was not a simple corner. It was a kind of salon for those waiting for a ship, used by the nobility.
They had rented out a room that was as high quality as a high-class inn.
“Professor Oz, please have a seat.”
“Well, well… thank you.”
Ain sat down on the sofa and led Oz to the other side.
Dill prepared a cup of tea for the two of them instead of a servant and took his place behind Ain.
“It’s been a while, hasn’t it?”
“Yes. I never thought I would see you again… T-that’s right! I’m very sorry about last year’s incident with Baltic… I apologize for the inconvenience I caused you when I invited you.”
“T-that’s not necessary! I really appreciated your letter…!”
“I am glad to hear that. By the way, I’ve heard rumors about Your Highness, but you’ve really grown in size, and… your face has become much more dignified.”
As a researcher, Ain’s body must be interesting to him. Oz also observed Ain’s limbs, blinking repeatedly, although not to the point of being rude.
Well, it’s time to go.
Ain cleared his throat lightly and straightened up.
“Professor Oz was here to check the parts, right?”
“Yes. In fact, I often visit craftsmen in this town to order parts for equipment used in my research.”
“You come all the way here on your own?”
“Hahaha… I’m often criticized for that, but that’s just my nature. It’s a habit of mine that I can’t feel safe unless I see it for myself.”
Oz looked embarrassed as he said this.
“I think that’s a very wonderful thought.”
“Haha. If it’s a coincidence that I met Your Highness, then it was the right decision.”
“But do you spend all your time immersed in research?”
“When you put it that way, yes, I do. I guess it’s a combination of hobby and business.”
“I see… A hobby, huh?”
Oz gave off the vibe that he was really enjoying his research.
This is something Ain felt for some time, but for Oz, doing research is part of the joy of living.
“Speaking of hobbies, I actually have a secret hobby.”
“I’m curious when you say secret…”
“It’s nothing serious. I just like to look up old stories.”
“Oh… I don’t know many old tales, so I’m a little curious.”
“Well, since you’re here, may I tell you something?”
He had plenty of time, and there was no reason to refuse.
It’s not a social call that Ain said he was interested in the first place, he meant it.
He raised the corner of his mouth, nodded heavily, asking Oz to proceed.
“Then… this is an old, old story.”
And so the old story by Oz began.
◇ ◇ ◇
In a certain place, there was a tribe, and in the tribe, there was a woman called the chief.
The chief had three excellent subordinates.
One was an intellectual man, and another was an expert spearman. And the last one was a brilliant military strategist.
The intellectual man loved his father. He loved him so much that he wanted to take him away from his mother.
The master spearman loved to act. He loved to blend into the story, to become the character.
The last man, who was like a military strategist, loved to read books. He often took his childhood friend, a woman, with him to read books.
The chief traveled the world with these three reliable men.
But after a while, they found a country nearby where the bad guys were gathering.
The chief bravely went to the land of the bad guys and fought hard to defeat them.
──And the chief did it.
She took many races as her companions and defeated all the bad guys.
But the chief doesn’t stop.
She thought that there might be more of these bad guys on other continents. Considering this, the chief decided to go to another land.
The chief thought that her three subordinates would come with her, but ── that’s not happening.
Two of them decided to leave the chief’s side and stay in the land. The two that left the chief were the intellectual man and the military man.
The intellectual man decided that since his father was staying, he would stay too.
But the man who was a military strategist was different.
He had fallen in love. He had fallen in love with the queen of the race he had helped in the battle.
Of course, the love was never fulfilled.
But he decided to stay close to the queen and watch over her.
But there was another tragic love. It was his childhood friend.
It is said that she never left his side, even though she knew her love would never come true.
After that, the chief crossed the sea, and the intellectual man continued his research.
The man who had fallen in love was ready to give his life to the country to support the queen.
…In the end, he nursed her through tears as she passed away.
He still remains in that country and watches over the country’s future.
◇ ◇ ◇
──It wasn’t a long story, but for some reason, Ain had a strong feeling that came over him.
The old stories nowadays have no dramatic ending. But somehow, it shook him so strongly that he forgot to blink and just listened.
“Thank you for your attention.”
“It was a story that touched my heart. Unlike most stories, it didn’t have any dramatic ending, but it was still an interesting old tale.”
“Haha… that’s how some old stories go. ──Oh?”
After saying this, Oz turned his attention to the clock in the room.
“I apologize. The time seemed to fly by.”
“Could it be?”
“Yes, I’m afraid I must return to the inn.”
“Is… that so?”
Ain cast his eyes down in disappointment. Then he quickly stood up and added his pleasure at today’s encounter.
“It was a pleasure to meet you today. I’m looking forward to seeing you again.”
“Me too. It was truly an honor to meet you today. I will continue to work on my research for the day when I will be able to see Your Highness again.”
The two men exchanged a few words and then shook hands firmly.
“I will escort you out.”
“N-no, no, no! Your Highness must not do such a thing!”
“But your kindness makes me very happy.”
With that, Oz hurried to the door.
“Goodbye, Your Highness. I hope to see you again soon.”
He bowed deeply for the last time and left Ain and Dill.
After seeing him off in the room, Ain sat back down on the sofa and sipped the remaining tea. He closed his eyes and ruminated on the old story he had just heard.
(…I wonder why.)
Why is it so hard to get it out of his head? He didn’t know why and remained silent for a while after drinking his tea.