It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (101/116), enjoy~
The stars in the night sky seemed to be arranged a little differently than in the summer.
It’s not like he’s been looking at the stars every day; it’s just a vague feeling. After thinking about this, Ain returned his gaze from outside the window to inside the salon.
He waited quietly until Sylvird, sitting on the sofa in front of him, returned the glass to the table.
“I’m a little concerned about the movements of the Elves.
“That’s why I called you here, Ain.”
He had also heard about the letter Chris had received. And the contents were reported in detail by Ain.
“I thought we were going to have a chat.”
“That’s not so bad. But since Ain is involved in this matter, I want to tell you about it.”
“Yeah, this involves the former Demon Lord’s territory.”
When Ain heard the words, he straightened up.
“How much do you know about the chief of the Elves?”
“No, I’ve never heard of her at all.”
“That’s where I’ll start. The chief of the Elves was once at the side of the first king. She survived that war and has lived to the present day as one of the longest-lived of the Elves.”
“──From the time of the first king?”
“It’s understandable that you are surprised. As I mentioned earlier, she’s particularly long-lived.”
But it’s been more than 500 years. As expected, Ain never thought that those who had seen the first king, Gail, were still alive.
“This brings me back to what I said about being curious about the movements of the Elves. I didn’t tell you, but I had sent a letter to the chief of the Elves a few months ago. I asked her if she knew anything about the relationship between the two words, former Demon Lord’s territory and His Majesty the First.”
“You didn’t mention the tombstone in the Demon Lord’s castle.”
“Of course not. If she doesn’t know, that’s fine. If she does, I just wanted to ask. But I’m sure of it. I am convinced that the chief of the Elves must know something about it.”
Sylvird’s conviction was justified.
In fact, if she had been by the side of the first king, she would have known. It would be unnatural for her not to know that the first king was from the former Demon Lord’s territory and that he was family to the Demon Lord Arche.
“There’s not even a little bit of information left in the modern world about the origins of His Majesty the First.”
However, this time it’s a different story.
“But if she had seen it in person, she would know about it.”
“Right? That’s why I wrote to her to find out more. It’s about information that His Majesty the First would have deliberately erased. ──But.”
The results did not go as expected.
It only bothered him more.
“She has not sent me any reply at all. And yet, she suddenly sent her people to the ruins of the first king’s villa, and on the way back, she will stop by at the capital? If it weren’t for the Elves, I would have summoned them with a royal decree!”
There was a reason why Sylvird didn’t do it.
“But I dare not do it.”
This is one of the reasons why the Elves are in a unique position in Ishtalika. A few hundred years ago, when the Elves first joined the people of Ishtalika.
This is a story that Ain also learned after he started attending the academy.
The Forest People Elves pledged their allegiance to His Majesty the First, not to the nation of Ishtalika.
Furthermore,the chief is the only archduke in Ishtalika. That’s why the royalty and nobility had never nagged the chief for more obedience.
“The great contribution of the Elves to His Majesty the First is well documented.”
“As I recall, they played an active role in the post-war reconstruction.”
“That’s right. Even now, it’s not an exaggeration to say that it’s an autonomous region, and that’s why it retains its appearance… What should I do?”
It’s hard to believe that he was confused about answering the letter.
If that were the case, they wouldn’t have gone to the first king’s villa first, and if that were the case, they would have ignored the letter, which, as Sylvird thought, was a bit of a curious move.
“Perhaps we should send a messenger to Sith Mill once more.”
“Grandfather, what is Sith Mill?”
“I guess it can’t be helped if Ain doesn’t know. It is an old Elven word meaning ‘silver and green.’ Nowadays, it is only used by the Elves who live in the area or in the nearby frontier cities. It refers to the forests and settlements where the Elves live. Hasn’t Chris ever told you about them?”
“No, I don’t think so. Chris told me a few times that it was called the Elven villages.”
“That’s not a wrong way to call it either. The Elves would have preferred to be called Sith Mill, though.”
“I see. I shall call it that then.”
The conversation was quiet at this point.
Sylvird picked up his glass again. Ain took a sip of cold water as well.
Both of them, who knew the secret story of the founding of the country, were getting fed up with the tediousness of the story so far. If the chief of the Elves had replied to one of the letters, it would have been a different story.
“Do you think it’s possible that the Red Fox is actually involved?”
“I’ve thought the same thing.”
A moment when he was about to say that it should be investigated thoroughly.
“But that’s just not possible.”
Siylvird shook his head.
“The Red Fox is not allowed to set foot in Sith Mill. As long as there is a sanctuary in Sith Mill.”
“What’s that amazing place?”
“It is a special place that has been warding off all foreign invaders. It’s powerful enough to protect the entire Sith Mill from foreign invaders, but it has one drawback.”
“It’s too powerful for outside magic to reach it.”
“Does that mean we can’t use the Messenger Birds?”
Sylvird nodded immediately.
The only way to contact Sith Mill is by human power after setting foot in it. This is not something that Sylvird has seen with his own eyes, but it is information that the researchers have actually examined before.
Warren also seemed to know the story and had a strong persuasive power against Ain.
“At any rate, I don’t think it has anything to do with the Red Fox.”
But the fact remains that the Elves’ movements are worrisome.
At least for now.
“I’ll wait for them to come to the royal capital. If they don’t say anything to me, we can ask them directly.”
That’s all they can do here.
They decided to wait and see.
After leaving the salon alone, Ain went to his room and thought about the port city of Magna.
It was about a month ago.
That day, for the first time since he became the Demon King, Ain had used a power that transcended human knowledge. He vividly remembered that he had surprised Lloyd and the others who had accompanied him.
“I’m glad to see she’s doing well.”
Ain reached into his pocket and pulled out a letter written in poor handwriting. This is the letter he received from Sylvird just a few minutes ago before he told him about the Elves. The sender was the girl Ain had saved in the port city of Magna, and there were many words of thanks written inside.
Knowing that she was fine made him feel really happy.
──What is the chief of the Elves thinking?
That’s what makes him curious.
Although Sylvird said that the sanctuary makes it impossible to have anything to do with the Red Fox, it still doesn’t remove his suspicion enough to worry about whether they are friend or foe.
“Marco… if you were here…”
He thought about the living armor he had fought in the former Demon Lord territory, the Demon Lord Castle.
If he were still alive, he would have been a reliable ally. He was a loyal vassal who remained loyal to Ishtalika until the moment the light of life went out. He would have known about the Elven chief this time and would have acted as an intermediary.
He felt a pang of melancholy, and suddenly.
He felt his chest shake lightly.
Could it be that he was encouraging me? Ain thought.
He knew it couldn’t be, but somehow, his mouth slackened.
Ain put his hand on the doorknob of his room when he arrived, muttered with a sigh, “I guess we’ll see how it goes first,” as Sylvird did, and went inside.
He turned on the light from the magic tool and sat down on the sofa with some fatigue.
He surrendered his body to the sinking cushions without defying them.
(What should I do?)
He felt fatigued, as if he was sleepy, but not yet sleepy.
But he didn’t have anything to do, and he felt bored. He didn’t feel like studying, so he was in a strange and languid mood.
Maybe it’s because he has been thinking too much.
It was the moment when he decided to do some reading.
A sound of an elegant knock echoed through the room, although Ain himself thought it was a funny phrase to say. It was as if it represented the personality of the visitor, a lingering sound similar to what one might hear after listening to a good opera.
This time, he heard a light voice like a rolled bell.
The one who appeared was Olivia, wearing a sweet scent.
“Why don’t we have a little chat?”
She may have just finished taking a bath, but her neck and chest were slightly flushed. She was wearing an outfit that showed off her uneven body, but the fabric was so thin that if he wasn’t careful, he could almost see through her underwear.
In the face of her glamor, Ain averted his gaze before he could reply.
Then she took advantage of the gap and approached him with a speed that would have surprised an assassin.
“I-it’s… too close, isn’t it?”
“Really? I like it when we’re this close.”
As soon as she was close enough, Olivia leaned over the back of Ain, who was sitting on the sofa and wrapped her arms around his neck in a hug.
It was a little too close for comfort, though he could understand what she meant.
The warmth and softness of her shoulder blades pressed against his.
The scent from her hair as she stroked Ain’s cheek seemed to melt his brain. The short exhale of “phew…” that he heard in his ear for a moment was also incendiary.
“I came here because I wanted to talk to you, Ain. Were you busy?”
It doesn’t matter whenever she wants to come over.
But if possible, he wanted her to stop talking in his ear. For now, he smiled wryly and replied, “It’s fine,” to which Olivia said with relief, “That’s good then.”
“We haven’t been able to talk much lately.”
“That’s true if you ask me. Both Mother and I have been busy.”
“Especially since Ain has been so busy lately.”
“…Because of the incident in the port city of Magna.”
“Yeah, I know. …That was a tragic event. If it hadn’t been for Ain, many more lives would have been lost.”
“The only reason I was able to help was because Grandfather allowed me to.”
“No, it was Ain who did more than anyone else.”
She praised Ain with a voice full of compassion, one of the reasons she was known as a saint.
The power of receptivity that she radiates is never given to anyone but Ain. It is an overwhelming mass of love that makes one want to surrender everything to it.
The languidness he had felt earlier disappeared like a lie.
He began to feel a sense of security as if he could sleep right now.
He was immediately noticed and laughed at.
“Ain is still Ain even when he grows up, isn’t it?”
After she said that.
She suddenly opened her mouth as if she remembered.
“Are you able to root now?”
“If you mean by my own will, I haven’t actually tried.”
As a Dryad, his maturity came after he was able to grow roots.
He was able to get the roots out of his body at that time…
That’s right after he came back from the adventurer’s town of Baltic and before he had to fight Marco.
When he thought about it, he never once tried to see if he could grow roots, since then. He’s been through so much since then that it’s not even possible to do so.
“How do you get the roots out?”
“Just think about it. There’s nothing difficult about it. We are Dryads, so as long as we think it’s natural to produce roots, we can do it.”
He had no idea.
Would it have been different if he had been born with the awareness of being a Dryad?
He closed his eyes for a moment.
He remembered the day when he grew roots for the first time. He sometimes groaned and furrowed his brow, wondering if he could get it out somehow…
(I didn’t do it of my own volition that day either, to begin with.)
The basic premise collapsed, and he couldn’t help but let out a self-mockery. He almost gave up.
“Ain is strong even without roots, and since the Toxin Decomposition EX can absorb magic power, your body may have decided that you don’t need to take out roots.”
He felt her concern for him as she sensed his resignation.
He could get it out eventually.
Ain gave up on rooting altogether and turned his head to Olivia behind him to regain his composure.
“Would you like some tea before bed?”
Needless to say, Olivia agreed with a big smile on her face.
It was the first time in a long time that they had spent the night talking, and they continued to do so until the end of the day.
It wasn’t his imagination that Ain was able to sleep more deeply than usual that night. It was so natural that it seemed inevitable.
◇ ◇ ◇
The next day, Ain was on official business in the castle town.
He was in a carriage moving through the town.
Krone, sitting next to Ain, bent down lightly, looked up at Ain, and opened her mouth in a reserved manner, looking slightly uncomfortable.
“Do you have a moment?”
Her lips were glossy, and her eyelashes were long. And Ain couldn’t help but notice the jewel-like violet crystal eyes that were hidden behind them. Her silky hair, a mixture of silver and blue jade swept smoothly as she tilted her head back.
“Yes, I’m worried about Chris-san.”
When Ain heard that, he knew.
It was yesterday, but now Chris seems to be fidgety and restless. He felt that it had something to do with the fact that she usually sat with him in the carriage, but now she was riding a horse outside to guard him.
Now, apparently, Krone didn’t know about Chris’s childhood friend. But seeing Ain’s reaction just now, she closed the distance between them.
“Do you know anything about it?”
“Yes, I know. She said something about her childhood friend coming.”
“Her childhood friend…?”
“Yes. She said her childhood friend from the Elven village is coming.”
“It’s unusual for an Elf from Sith Mill to come all the way to the royal capital.”
It’s not surprising that Krone knew the name Sith Mill.
“I heard that they’re stopping by the royal capital on their way back from a trip to His Majesty the First’s villa. Chris’s cheeks twitched a little when she said it was going to be ostentatious.”
“Ostentatious? You mean the Elves?”
“I heard that. I don’t really understand it either.”
“But how is it ostentatious? I’m starting to wonder.”
“Yeah, I’m surprised you don’t know that, Krone.”
“What do you think I am?”
She pouted her lips, but she didn’t look unhappy.
She smiled as if she couldn’t help it, with a glimpse of sweetness in her eyes.
The carriage suddenly jolted lightly, bringing them closer and closer together. However, neither of them was nervous or embarrassed; they acted as if it was quite natural and continued to talk.
“Please don’t say anything to Ain-sama, please don’t say anything to Ain-sama──.”
Chris’s voice reached Ain’s ears, which had become more audible since his transformation into a Demon King.
The reason why she’s so fidgety now is probably because she’s afraid that her childhood friend will tell everyone about her old, embarrassing past.
When Krone saw him chuckle, she was taken aback.
“What’s wrong with your sudden smile?”
“It’s nothing. It’s nothing serious.”
Perhaps there is no more embarrassing story than the escape from an epidemic… but Chris, the Elf, can’t say that.
“Fuh, why don’t you tell me?”
“Um, what are you doing reaching for my thigh?”
She didn’t like the fact that Ain was laughing to himself.
Krone’s fingertips clawed at Ain’s thigh, tickling it with a gentle motion like a feather snatching.
“It might tickle a little.”
“Of course it does. It’s supposed to.”
“Yeah… are you serious…?”
“If not, I can always get even.”
In other words, on the thighs.
Ain looked for a moment at the feet peeking out of the black skirt of the uniform and then at Krone’s face. It was a good thing that he had taken the time to stare at her for even a second, she said, mischievously provoking him.
“What’s up with the sudden stop?”
It is indeed daring to touch it like that.
It’s a little late for that now since he almost kissed her on the beach when the meeting with Heim took place. But there are times when he had to make an excuse in his mind, and he turned away and looked out the window.
Krone, who was sitting next to him, leaned forward lightly and put her face close to Ain’s profile.
“Fufu, you’ve turned red.”
She lightly pecked Ain’s cheek, which had turned red with a hint of embarrassment.