It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (90/113), enjoy~
Chapter 8 – On The Prepared Stage
Heim, it’s past spring and into early summer.
It was on a certain evening.
Shannon, who is Grint’s fiancee, was visiting Roundheart’s mansion in Heim’s royal capital.
“Thank you very much for your time today.”
She bowed to Grint. Her proud red hair spread out and caught Grint’s gaze.
“I’m the one who wanted to be with Shannon! Don’t worry about it!”
“Fufu, I’m so happy.”
Just before leaving the mansion and getting into the carriage that was waiting outside, Shannon suddenly stopped and turned to look at Grint. When Grint wondered what was wrong, she closed the distance and asked in a reminiscent tone.
“I was told you have an early start tomorrow morning.”
“Oh. Yes, it’s a hassle, but I have to go to Euro. It should be our last exchange before the meeting with Ishtalika ── Right, I will buy you some souvenirs. What would you like?”
“Souvenir… isn’t it?”
“Yeah, whatever you want.”
“May I ask you to leave a message for someone? I have an old acquaintance in Euro. I’ve asked him to do some work for my family, and I’m going to ask him to do it again.”
“Oh, I see. In that case, leave it to me.”
“Well, thank you very much.”
“All right. So, who do you want me to send the message to?”
“…You know, the one Grint-sama knows so well.”
“Someone I know…?”
Shannon gave a slight smile as she watched Grint think with his hand on his forehead.
“I want you to tell him that we need to get ready for a new stage.”
She said, bringing her face close to Grint’s ear.
──The following day.
Shortly after Grint departed for Euro, the port town of Roundheart was even more crowded than usual.
There was a royal family member who had come with several knights. He had come to check the preparations with his own eyes before the imminent departure.
“How is the situation, Your Highness?”
“…Oh! It’s you, Logas!”
“The sound of the sea birds is soothing. They seem to be celebrating the outcome of our mission.”
“Yeah, let’s let that soothe us for now.”
Although not visible from the harbor, there was an island beyond the horizon that would be used for the meeting.
The two of them stood shoulder to shoulder and looked in that direction.
They were overcome with emotion. Tigre’s voice trembled with joy as he said this.
“It’s been a really long road to get here ── Now, as soon as Grint returns, we’ll start preparing to leave.”
He was suddenly concerned when he finished.
“But then, Logas. I’ve heard that your son and wife are also coming.”
“Your Highness. You forgot to add ‘former’.”
“That’s right. Doesn’t that bother you?”
“Not at all, I’m afraid. However, I am a great general of the glorious Heim Kingdom. No matter what time of day it is, I will never forget the passion and pride that flows through my body.”
“That’s very encouraging.”
Tigre seemed to be in a better mood than usual today.
Even as this goes on, the number of ships is gradually increasing.
“It’s going to be a very large group.”
“Yeah, we’ve hired a lot of adventurers. And this is why I find the sea route so troublesome and costly.”
“We have a lot of knights on the way. …From the royal family were His Majesty the King, Your Highness Tigre. And the first prince as well?”
“Yes. And then there’s Elena and the others.”
“All of our major figures are present.”
“Right? Even if it’s against Ishtalika, we’re not going to be defeated.”
He thought that since they have such a great lineup of talented people, they could compete with Ishtalika. In fact, he thought that they could advance the talks to an advantage.
◇ ◇ ◇
Beyond the horizon that Logas was looking at, the proud fleet of Ishtalika was lined up. It was the uninhabited island that Sylvird had mentioned before. The island was no longer uninhabited, and the road to the center of the island had been built. There are also simple ports on the west and east sides of the island. These were built to be close to each other.
Inside the fleet on the west side of the island.
The White King anchored in the center. And to the right was Princess Katima docked, and to the left was Princess Olivia. Surrounded by the most advanced battleships, they created a spectacular sight not normally seen.
By the way, Ain had come to this island aboard Princess Olivia.
He has just disembarked and is in the middle of watching the Sea Dragon twins approaching the harbor.
“…You guys have really grown up.”
The twins were exposing the huge body parts that had grown much bigger than before.
They were already more than 30 meters long. It seems that Katima is still feeding them magic stones, and their bodies continue to grow day by day. The younger brother, El, is in the process of changing its voice, and it may not be long before it becomes the size of the Sea Dragon that Ain fought.
“They are very reliable, aren’t they?”
Krone said, coming next to Ain.
“Yes. I think grandfather’s suggestion was not a bad one.”
The reason the twins were here was a last-minute suggestion by Sylvird.
When they left the royal capital, the twins did not leave Princess Olivia that Ain was on. They had no choice but to set sail, but the situation remained the same, and the fleet anchored at sea.
Then Sylvird said, “Just take them with you now,” and brought them along as an escort.
There is a question about whether the current force would need an escort. However, there’s nothing better than having a lot of strength.
“Ah, Ain-sama! I didn’t know you were here!”
“Sorry for the suddenness. His Majesty wanted to have a word with you. He’s waiting for you in a building in the middle of the island!”
“I understand. Let’s go──”
“Don’t worry about me. I’ll be waiting for you at Olivia-sama’s.”
After watching Krone return to the ship, Ain walked off with Chris. They were headed for the center of the island, where a dense forest spread out like a jungle. The path was well maintained now, so it wasn’t too difficult to walk.
It was like taking an elegant walk in the jungle.
“Thanks to the presence of the twins, we didn’t cross paths with any small monsters.”
“They seem to be the masters of the nearby sea.”
“Fufu, it seems so. Oh, please let me know if you need anything. We have a lot of battleships, and if you order it, we will annihilate any port town.”
“…I won’t give you any order like that, okay?”
It’s easy to understand why she limited it to port towns. This is because Chris hates Heim more than anything else.
“Rather than increase the troublesome fate of such a thing, it is better to let’s do what we want on this island.”
“Ahaha… you beat me with pretty words.”
“I think the words are gentle, but the content is harsh.”
It’s easy to spend time on this island. The climate is not too hot even now in the summer, and the waves are calm and quiet. The terrain isn’t too rugged, so it’s perfect for use as a resort.
“When things have settled down, why don’t we all come here for a visit?”
Chris smiled happily at Ain’s suggestion and nodded.
“──Is that the place?”
A square with stone pavement came into view.
At the back, there was another stone building. It had a triangular roof reminiscent of a temple and a series of thick columns. There was no door but rather a huge room inside.
“I will go now.”
“Take care. I’ll be waiting for you in the square.”
Ain left Chris at this point and stepped into the building.
In the building, seats were set up on both sides.
Just like the ports on the east and west sides, they represented the relationship between the two countries.
Upon closer inspection, it seemed that there was another room behind the seats on either side. It must have been a waiting room or a resting room.
Incidentally, Sylvird was sitting in the middle of the west side seats.
“I apologize for keeping you waiting.”
“Umu. Well, I don’t want you to stand there while we talk. You can sit next to me.”
“If you’ll excuse me. …By the way, you’ve built quite a magnificent building.”
“Wherever we are, we must behave as Ishtalika. We can’t let ourselves be degraded.”
At best, it’s pride. At worst, it may be vanity.
It depends on how one looks at it, but Ain had no objection regarding that opinion.
“But I’m deeply moved. Finally, a meeting with them.”
The thought of Logas, who was definitely coming, flashed through his mind.
He wondered what emotions he would feel when he saw his face. He thought he’d blown his mind, but maybe his chest would beat uncomfortably ─── that’s what he thought.
(That doesn’t scare me at all.)
Maybe it was because he had grown up, but he didn’t have the slightest feeling of near-fear.
“Oh, you’re as calm as Warren.”
“Hmm, I don’t know. Do I look calm to you?”
“You look as solid and unshakable as a huge rock.”
Sylvird stroked Ain’s head gently as he said this.
Although Ain’s body has grown a lot, Sylvird is still bigger than him.
“Don’t be shy. You’re my grandson, no matter how big you become.”
“…Please don’t do this when you’re already fifty or so.”
“I’m sorry, but as long as I’m alive, I have no intention of enduring anything.”
The two of them enjoying a peaceful time heard the sound of a door opening with a click──
“Hah… Why do I have to come too-nya.”
Katima appeared from the room behind them.
She was a little less energetic than usual, considering the angle of her tail, and her gait was heavier.
“Father, it’s not too late-nya. …Can I go home, please-nya?”
She turned her hopeful eyes to Sylvird and said that.
“I have told you many times. I cannot allow it.”
“W-why not-nya? I don’t see the point in me being here-nya!”
Indeed, there is little point.
Katima had no work to do since Warren and the others were in charge of the meeting. Her sister Olivia was the one who was involved in the secret talks, so Katima was sure that she didn’t need to be there.
But still, it made sense for Katima to be brought along.
“Why did you bring me here too-nya?”
But then… she suddenly realized.
“C-could it be? Did you need my genius brain-nya…?”
She almost loosened her cheeks, thinking that she had no choice, but in fact, it was not the case.
Ain knew the reason why Katima was brought here. Since Sylvird seemed uncomfortable talking about it, Ain exchanged glances with Sylvird and indicated that he would speak.
“You don’t have to tell everyone-nya. Geez, you’re nothing without me──”
“Katima-san’s wisdom has indeed helped me in the past, but not today. …Because, you know, if there is no one to stop Katima-san, it’s kind of dangerous.”
“It seems that letting you go unchecked is too dangerous…”
Currently, there is no one in the royal capital who can stop her. That’s why she was brought here, Ain said.
“S-so that’s why I was brought here-nya…? You mean you want to chain me like a pet on a leash because you’re worried about me misbehaving-nya…?”
“I don’t know if that’s a good analogy…”
A few moments later, Katima fell to the floor like she was about to burst.
“I’ve lost my strength-nya… Please take me to the ship-nya…”
Sylvird’s head was in his hands as he saw that she did not look like a princess at all.
He could take her with him later, but it would be unacceptable to leave her sleeping here. As he looked around to see if there was anything he could do, he noticed Dill peeking at him from the back room.
“Sorry, can you come over here?”
Hearing the voice, Dill immediately ran over to him.
“I apologize. I didn’t mean to peek at you, but I was wondering if something was wrong.”
“Dill… I ask you with all the shame. I’m sorry, but I need you to take my daughter to her ship.”
“H-how shall I get her there?”
“It would be a joke if you tied her up or dragged her along ── but it would be good if you carried her on your back.”
It is out of the question for a man to carry a princess before her marriage.
However, no one in the room objected to the suggestion. On the contrary, Katima even raised her hand in response, saying it was a good idea.
Katima, blushing with embarrassment, approached Dill.
“…I’d rather you give me a piggyback ride-nya.”
──What the hell is this woman talking about?
Finally, even Ain got a headache.
“N-now, if you’ll excuse me.”
“Oh… is just right-nya. Okay, please-nya.”
“Understood… I’ll take you there.”
Then Dill left the place with Katima on his back.
This was the moment when it became clear that a handsome man like Dill would look good no matter what he did, but unfortunately, he would not look good carrying a bad cat on his back.
“Let’s entrust Katima to Dill in case of emergency.”
It sounded like a good idea, but Ain’s reply was obvious.
“I don’t think it’s right to say “entrust” when you mean “force”.”
“…I suppose you’re right.”
Dill walked slowly in front of Sylvird’s gaze, who muttered forcefully. He was tormented by an indescribable emotion when he saw his daughter wagging her tail in a good mood as she was carried on a man’s back.