It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (102/116), enjoy~
Chapter 2 – The Coming of The Elves
Both Sylvird and Ain spent the week as usual.
They were curious about the Elves’ movements, but they had official business to attend to. They had just finished a meeting with Heim the summer before, and with the turmoil in the port city of Magna, they had been busy with work.
The White Rose Station, the largest station in Ishtalika, and the main street running through the center of the royal capital was in confusion. The noise was out of the ordinary, and the crowd was caused by people’s interest.
Ain, who was watching the scene from the balcony of his room, opened his mouth and exclaimed.
What he saw was a group of Elves walking down the main street. They’re silent even as they take in the gaze of the people.
They’re not many, only a few dozen. The way they lined up in a vertical line resembled a knight’s march, but their appearance and attire also made them look fantastic and stern.
In the long vertical line, Elves, who looked like warriors, stood in front and behind.
They were dressed in leather armor and woven shoes. They all wore their long hair pulled back in an all-black bun, and their appearance was nothing short of fearless.
Also, the warriors standing in the middle of the line had flags raised in front of their chests.
There seemed to be someone walking as if being protected by a warrior holding a flag.
Could that be the chief of the Elves? Ain speculated that, but the center of the line could not be seen because of the flag-wielding warriors walking around.
It’s time for him to go as well. He’ll go to the audience hall where his grandfather is waiting.
He walked back into the room from the balcony with his black sword on his hip, which he doesn’t usually carry in the castle, and roughly took his cloak off the couch and put it on his sleeve.
If the Elves do anything to them──.
When the time came, he would draw his sword without asking Sylvird.
He made up his mind that he would pull out his sword to protect his family, even if it meant that Chris would be sad, and he lightly slapped his cheek one last time before leaving the room.
◇ ◇ ◇
It was with this strong determination that he had left the room. In the time it took for the Elves to enter the castle and come to the audience hall, he was even more determined.
But what could be wrong with that? What’s wrong with this situation?
“I have no words to express my joy at meeting you, Most Honored One.”
An Elven woman who had stepped up to Ain, who was standing next to Sylvird, broke her knees and said this. She didn’t even kneel down to greet the king first, giving priority to Ain.
Even though King Sylvird was not expecting this situation, he was baffled by this disrespect. Even though he had been a bit cautious until now, he wondered what this situation was…
The three who were present were Lloyd, Warren, and Chris, who also seemed to be at a loss for words.
“Why did you bow to me? You should have bowed to His Majesty before me.”
On the other hand, Ain still had the presence of mind to say it firmly.
First, he glared at the woman kneeling before him and then at the warriors who had come with her.
At first glance, he could see that the warriors seemed to be as fierce as or more than the royal knights.
But they gasped in front of Ain with a power they had never felt before.
“I am afraid I have something to say to you, Most Honored One.”
The woman opened her mouth without fear.
At this point, Ain looked at her calmly. Perhaps it was because she was also an Elf, but her appearance was striking. She had a slightly hard face that gave the impression of being honorable.
The clothes worn by the female Elves are a bit revealing, but there is a certain elegance in the way she wore her shawl.
“We Elves are a race that owes allegiance to His Majesty the First. We have never lost our reverence for the royal family that is in the lineage of His Majesty the First.”
“Then why did you bow to me before His Majesty?”
“Because His Royal Highness the Crown Prince is a Dryad.”
“We Elves, who live with nature, have great respect for the Dryads. It is for this reason that we have approached you as we have.”
This was an extremely disrespectful statement, even for the king. However, Ain looked at Chris with a wry smile in front of the woman who said it so proudly.
She must be feeling extremely sorry for the situation. Her face was very pale, and she looked like she was about to say that she would take responsibility.
This situation was not what Ain wanted, and he let out a sigh before opening his mouth.
“I don’t want that. If you cannot pay respect to His Majesty, I am not ready to accept the respect of the Elves.”
He boldly stated.
The Elves in front of him looked at Ain unafraid for more than ten seconds.
“…..I apologize for any offense I may have caused.”
She put her hand on her left breast and bowed deeply again.
“Yeah, that’s fine. I just want to tell you, since you’re the chief, that from now on, you’ll always put His Majesty first, not me.”
She looked as if she had lost her bearings.
“I’m sorry for the late introduction. I am Sierra, the granddaughter of the chief.”
“I also apologize for the lack of my report. Because of her advanced age, she rarely leaves her residence anymore. I have come as her representative.”
It didn’t look like she was lying. Her eyes were dignified and unmoved, and they did not waver in the slightest.
When Ain looked at Sylvird, it seemed that Sylvird knew that she was not the chief. However, he didn’t seem to know that the chief wasn’t coming, so he narrowed his eyes and stroked his beard.
“Your Majesty, please forgive my earlier insolence.”
“No matter. I don’t care as much as Ain does. And?”
“I understand, Your Majesty. I believe you demand the Chief’s message.”
“So you have it.”
“Yes, I do.”
The audience hall was filled with confusion.
The people waiting in the castle, as well as the Elves, had no idea what the two of them were discussing and had questions on their faces.
Ain and Sylvird had been wondering about the chief’s mysterious movements for some time.
(Didn’t the warriors know about Grandfather’s letter?)
It seems that Sierra is the only one who knows.
On the other hand, Sierra does not respond to the confusion of those around her but takes out an envelope from her pocket.
“Let me take care of it.”
Warren took the letter and exchanged glances with Sylvird. Normally, Warren would be the one to check the letter first, but today, Sylvird would be the one to read it.
There was only an overwhelming silence.
Sylvird, who was following the letter with his eyes, drew all the attention. The shadow of a pillar made by the incoming light snatched Ain’s cheek.
“I did receive it.”
When he looked up, he didn’t seem as alert as he did the other day. Instead, he seemed to be troubled by something.
“Sierra, was it? Do you know what it is?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Well then, good. I will answer this question after I speak with the crown prince. Now, how long can you Elves stay in the capital?”
“We decided to stay for two days. It is not my intention to be away from my village for too long.”
“Then you will return to Sith Mill the day after tomorrow?”
When Sierra heard this, she nodded deeply and responded.
“Prepare a room for everyone.”
This means that they have decided to welcome the Elves.
(Grandfather has decided that they are not a threat.)
Anyone who can get a room in the castle is at least not an enemy.
He could tell that the letter Sylvird had just received was a factor that made him decide that. That’s why Ain was very intrigued by the letter’s contents and waited anxiously for the time when he could hear it.
◇ ◇ ◇
The sun was setting, and Ain was stretched out on a chair in his office.
“Are you tired?”
“I’ve been working since noon, after all. You must be getting tired too now, Krone.”
“I’m… right. I think my eyes are getting a little tired too.”
Krone rubbed her eyes with her fingertips.
She had been concentrating on paperwork for a long time, and now she felt like taking a break. Ain put his hand on Krone’s shoulder as she tried to stand up.
She was about to leave the office and go get a drink or a snack.
“Geez, what’s wrong?”
“I’ll get the drinks and stuff. Martha-san and the servants will still be busy with the Elves, after all.”
“That’s why I have to go…”
“No problem. You can rest first, Krone.”
He looked at her with gentle, calm eyes. Kroner hated the tactlessness of disregarding his kindness.
“Is it okay to spoil me?”
“It’s always nice to be spoiled, isn’t it?”
With a wave of his hand, Ain left the office.
As he stepped out into the corridor, he noticed that, unlike usual, the castle was bustling and a bit hectic.
It couldn’t be helped, though, since dozens of people had suddenly been invited to stay.
“I wondered what the letter to my grandfather was about.”
He couldn’t help but be curious about it while he was working.
But Sylvird said he would have time to talk to Ain. Perhaps now Sylvird is looking at the letter in his room or elsewhere, trying to figure out the chief’s true intentions, or perhaps he’s thinking of something else.
One thing that patted his chest was the fact that he had let down his guard against the Elves.
But Ain was still on his guard, and he still had his black sword on his hip.
“Would it be too much of a bother for me to go to… my grandfather’s room?”
In the end, it was better to wait.
After gathering his thoughts, he approached the stairs to the lower floor.
“──Y-you can’t do that!”
Chris’s voice came from below, filled with desperation.
Ain couldn’t help hiding in the shadows nearby and peeking out.
“All that stuff about when I was a kid and everything! No! Everything before I came to the royal capital, please don’t tell anyone!”
The next voice that he heard was.
(Is that Sierra-san?)
It was Sierra, whom he had met in the audience hall during the day.
“I think His Highness will enjoy hearing it.”
“I would be embarrassed!”
“You might be right. But His Highness is going to enjoy it. When you think about it, your embarrassment seems insignificant, doesn’t it?”
“Maybe so… Ah! You’re laughing! You’re laughing at me because I’m lost!”
Sierra put her hand over her mouth and laughed, saying something plausible.
“You’re still the same, aren’t you, Chris?”
“…What do you mean the same?”
“It’s a secret. But I was relieved. I haven’t seen you in years, and it’s good to see you looking so well.”
“I’ve been sending you letters, though.”
Ain wondered if Chris had been in touch with Sierra because they were childhood friends.
“Are you stupid? I’ve only received one letter from you in almost ten years.”
When he heard this reply, he thought about it. He wondered why Chris had said, “I sent you a letter,” as if it were a matter of course.
(I feel sorry for Sierra-san on this one.)
She even let out a sigh. They didn’t seem to be on bad terms with each other, and on the contrary, Chris’s unguarded answer showed that they had a comfortable relationship.
If that’s the case, why doesn’t she send her a few more letters?
Even if she is a long-lived Elf.
“Not sure I sent you just one letter…!”
“Okay. If you think it’s normal to receive only one letter every ten years, I’ll ask His Highness about it.”
If she were to ask him, his reply would be obvious.
(It’s not normal.)
“It’s unfair to ask Ain-sama!”
“It’s not unfair. I just want his opinion.”
Chris’s lips puckered up in frustration, but Ain couldn’t do anything about it. In fact, he’s even considering taking Sierra’s side.
Eventually, however, he couldn’t hear their voices anymore. It seems that the two of them have gone somewhere else.
“I need to go get a drink or something for now.”
So, if someone asks him about the letter later, he’ll tell them. Once every ten years is too little, indeed.