Maseki Gurume – Vol 6 Chapter 10

It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (120/128), enjoy~

ED: LonelyMatter



Chapter 10 – Under The Moonlight

 

“Your Highness! Your Highness!”

The next time Ain woke up, he heard a woman’s voice making a commotion at his bedside. He moved his head, which was working only vaguely, to look in the direction of the voice.

“Sierra?”

“Your Highness, are you alright? Please stay where you are; I’ll go and call my grandmother right now!”

She didn’t wait for Ain’s reply and opened the door vigorously and walked out.

After a closer look, he realized that this was Chris’s house. It was Celes’ bedroom, which he borrowed, and outside the window, it was already dark, so he knew it was nighttime. And there was the color. The outside of the sanctuary was back to normal.

What wasn’t understood was why he was sleeping.

Another thing he doesn’t know is why Sierra was in such a hurry.

“My body feels fine.”

When he sat up on the bed, he should have been in pain, but he’s in his natural state.

He felt light, which is rare, even these days.

“Your Highness…! Oh, Your Highness… you are awake…”

The chief came with a ghastly expression on her face. She came to Ain’s side and exhaled with strong relief.

“What happened? Why am I here?”

“Your Highness was lying by the fountain with Christina-san. Sierra found the two of you as soon as she woke up this morning.”

It’s strange because it should have been a shrine where he collapsed.

(Well, strange is not a new word, I suppose.)

If it’s strange, he experienced many strange things just today and considered it one of them.

“Chief, how much time has passed since Chris and I collapsed?”

“It’s been about half a day. If I recall, you promised to have lunch with me today, and then we would continue our conversation from the other day.”

Although he understood the timeline, it was strange.

It was the morning soon after he woke up that he noticed something unusual about Sith Mill. After that, he must have spent hours retracing his steps back through the forest and painstakingly exploring the shrine. Then more than half a day must have passed. And yet, it was only in the morning that they were found unconscious.

It would be understandable if they were in a coma for more than a whole day.

However, he was concerned about the current situation, as if to say that time had not progressed during the anomaly.

“I see; what about Chris!”

“Christina-san is in her room. She is not injured. She will wake up in time.”

Hearing this, Ain looked up at the ceiling and closed his eyes.

Thank goodness, everything was fine.

He didn’t know what was going on, but this was enough for now.

“Sierra, I have to ask His Highness something.”

When the chief implored her to leave the room, Sierra quickly left the room.

“Let me ask you something. How did you two come to be lying in the fountain?”

“…I don’t know.”

But he remembers what happened before that.

“When Chris and I woke up, the whole Sith Mill was colorless, like it was in the sanctuary. We figured the reason for the mutation was at the shrine, so we went there.”

“──You don’t mean to tell me that you were able to open the door?”

“Yes, Chris and I were able to open it yesterday.”

“Is… that so?”

“Chief.”

“You don’t have to talk about it. …You have witnessed the power of His Majesty the First.”

After all, the chief knew about the shrine.

Ain stood up from the bed without rushing to continue and looked at the black sword that was propped up against the wall.

“The shrine was built by me and His Majesty the First.”

“I expected it to be a place that had a connection with His Majesty the First. I had no idea that the chief had built it together with him.”

“I’m good at the magic that works by nature.”

The chief says, remembering.

“We built it before the beginning of the Great War. At that time, Sith Mill was overrun with many monsters, and all the different races except us Elves were also under threat. His Majesty the First was so distressed that he decided to create a sanctuary.”

According to her, the sanctuary is like a magical tool.

The building that granted the power that Gail had was the shrine.

“There are two keys to unsealing the shrine.”

The chief holds up a finger.

“One is that there is a person who has the blood of His Majesty the First. And the other is──.”

Here the chief looked Ain in the eye.

The eyes that contained a strong will not to let her escape and tenderness that wanted to be close to her.

“It is necessary to have someone with the same power as Her Majesty Arche.”

The mystery of the pillar was finally solved. White and black meant two Ishtalikas.

(Which means I couldn’t make the pillar on Chris’s side shine.)

Maybe it was because the power of the Demon King took precedence.

The chief was obviously aware that Ain was the Demon King, though.

“Your Highness need not speak.”

She would not let anything be stated and would not ask a single word more to be said.

“…Chief’

“A certain one said. The dark night is the messenger who carries the morning. To greet the dazzling sunrise, we need gentle darkness that can envelop everything.”

“That saying…”

Wasn’t that what Gail said during the battle?

“How did we end up outside of the sanctuary, Chief? I have no idea why it went back to the way it was after Chris and I fought with the first king, and I have no idea what the purpose is.”

Why was that monstrosity caused, so to speak, was the question.

The chief described the opening of the shrine door by the two as the breaking of a seal.

Then the trigger for the change must be in the door of the shrine.

“I don’t know the details myself. I remember that His Majesty visited the shrine alone after the Great War and did something. I was never told about it. I could not break the seal by myself as His Majesty did, so I was not able to investigate.”

──The chief continued, but…

“He said he had left his strength for the coming threat.”

Ain huffed and picked up the black sword. Then, without hesitation, he pulls it out of its sheath and shines the moonlight on the sword’s changed appearance.

The chief also looked at the sword, and her eyes widened in surprise.

It was unmistakably the same as the first king Gail’s sword that she knew.

“I am sure that the anomaly was a test to pass on the power to His Highness.”

“…Chief, could this be the reason that you invited me to Sith Mill?”

He wondered if it was also to give him the power left by the first king, Gail.

The chief would not answer anything.

She smiled gently and did not say either no or yes.

“I see.”

Nevertheless, that was something of an answer.

Finally, Ain asks the remaining question.

“Chris and I fought with His Majesty the First. I don’t think he was undead, or he wasn’t himself. What was that all about?”

“It seems to me that he was an illusion, or a guardian, born as a being to test the will and magic ── all left behind by His Majesty the First, in the form of a sword. He may have been waiting behind the shrine to pass on the power of his own sword.”

“I have a feeling now that you mention it.”

What a tough ordeal that must have been. As he thought of this, he also began to laugh at how strong Gail, who was not a residue, was.

“Yes! The power of the sanctuary is…!”

“Don’t worry. The Sith Mill will remain in its holy power. But the doors of the shrine will never again be opened.”

The chief said she went on foot while Ain collapsed.

She climbed up to the shrine and went to the place where the door should have been.

But the door looked different from before, as the border that should have opened on either side had disappeared, and it seemed to have been transformed into a single piece of rock.

Ain was relieved to learn that the sanctuary’s power was intact.

He continued to reminisce about the battle with Gail.

(…It was still too early to go over to His Majesty the First.)

If it was not an ordeal but a struggle for life.

He stopped thinking about what would happen next.

 

◇ ◇ ◇

 

Ain checked the clock in the living room, and the time was just around 2:00 a.m.

After talking to the chief, Ain waited in Chris’ room for her to wake up, but she didn’t seem to wake up at all.

Ain had a grim look on his face at that time. He was obviously worried about Chris, but Sierra suggested that he should go out for a change of scenery. Ain didn’t want Chris to see that look when she woke up either, so he accepted Sierra’s suggestion.

──Outside, just taking a deep breath seemed to cleanse his body.

The scent of the forest. The cool breeze cooled his burning body, and it felt good.

Even though he had only experienced a few nights walks when he was the crown prince himself, he felt like he was doing something wrong, and it wasn’t bad.

Eventually, Ain arrived at the edge of the fountain and sat down on a nearby rock.

(I’m hungry.)

He had eaten a rather large dinner since he woke up. Although his stomach felt full, his hunger was not satisfied in any way. After relaxing a little, he decided to go back to the house and try to eat again.

After thinking of nothing else, he looked up at the sky.

The stars seemed closer in the sky than at night in the royal capital. He wondered for several minutes or even a dozen minutes if he had been looking at the night sky as it was.

 

Suddenly, there was a gust of wind.

Ain, who had been drowsy on a rock, closed his eyes and listened carefully for footsteps approaching from behind.

The moonlight shone on Ain, casting a shadow on the fountain.

The sound of the night wind blowing and shaking the trees and leaves rustling against each other was like the sound of a famous orchestra playing a concert. Leaves falling into the fountain create ripples, and the sound of fish jumping in the air echoes around the area.

“Ain-sama!”

When a voice arrived that sounded like a tinkling bell; another shadow appeared in the fountain.

“Are you all right now?”

“Yes. I can even fight again.”

“Haha… might want to give me a break on that one.”

Then she sat down next to him.

Suddenly, she took Ain’s hand in hers and held it up to the moonlight.

“It’s strange, isn’t it?”

“Hmm?”

“So many injuries, and yet here we are, unscathed. I thought we might die, but I’m starting to think it might have been a dream.”

“It wasn’t a dream; that much is clear.”

Ain then pulled out the black sword he carried at his waist.

“Look, Chris, you recognize it too, don’t you?”

She was surprised to see the black sword and demanded an explanation of what had happened.

Ain shook his head, said they would talk later, and put the matter to rest.

He then said, “The chief told me some things, so let’s talk about it on the water train on the way back.”

“Mm… don’t you think it is too long?”

“What do you mean by too long? It’s not like it’s a reward.”

“Yes, it’s actually a reward! I worked a lot!”

Chris, who normally would never say such a thing, is strangely aggressive in begging for a reward. Perhaps it was because she had experienced something too unusual. For some reason, she seems to be bolder and more determined than usual.

As Ain was laughing, Chris stood up with a thump.

She was dressed very roughly. Chris was wearing blue denim and a white shirt on top. Two buttons were unbuttoned, and the sleeves were rolled up, giving her a healthy beauty.

“What do you want as a reward?”

“Actually, there aren’t many things I want.”

“…Why did you ask for it?”

“Haha… ah, but there are things I’d like you to do with me!”

While walking with light steps in front of Ain’s eyes.

Her golden thread hair sways in the moonlight, and she turns around with a neat smile on her face.

“The water here feels good when you bathe in it.”

“I see.”

Hearing his reply, Chris rolled up the hem of her denim.

She then took off her shoes.

Her white legs dip into the water, and the corners of her mouth turn up as she soaks in the cool sensation.

“I’m good at playing in the water,” Ain said.

“I’ve never heard of that before. Where did you get good at it?”

“No, I said it for the first time too, but I feel like I can beat you in the number of moves.”

“…The illusory hand is a cheat, after all.”

“How did you know ── Eh, uwaa… Chris!”

The cold water that suddenly splashed on Ain’s face made him panic, and Chris, who had stepped into the fountain a step ahead of him, burst out laughing happily.

“Hahaha, you can never be too careless, can you?”

Even at this age.

Ain never thought he would be playing in the water after what happened, but it was pleasant, too, perhaps because he was free from extreme tension.

At least he was fighting back.

Ain stepped into the fountain, scooped up the water with an exaggerated movement, and threw it down.

“Kyaa… y-you are merciless! Then me too!”

And a moment after, Chris tried to fight back.

Her body collapsed in a heap, and she fell into the fountain.

With all this playing around, there was no way they weren’t getting wet by now. However, Ain almost reflexively reached out his hand and supported Chris, but his footing was dazed in the water.

After their places switched once or twice, they both fell into the fountain.

“You almost fell over first, and this was Chris’s loss.”

Crouching down, Ain received Chris in front of him.

Her body trembled slightly as she buried her face in his chest, and she didn’t seem to look up.

“Chris?”

The hand holding Ain’s was cajoled by the voice, but it didn’t change.

“──.”

A hazy voice uttered something.

The goddess of the moon, once again, should be referred to.

Her golden threads of hair, spread out in the fountain, were wet with water and tangled in Ain’s arms as well. The figure, which never wanted to leave, was like her own heart, dignified but with a hint of reluctance inside.

“──I was scared.”

The vulnerable emotion that was revealed struck Ain’s heart.

It’s all right now. Then, softly, he put his own hand on her trembling hand, saying aloud.

“When I woke up, and Ain-sama wasn’t there, I cried in front of Sierra. I heard you were outside, so I got dressed right away and came running.”

Ain felt bad about that. It was easy to imagine that Chris’ inconsolability was extreme.

“Do you mind if I stay like this for a little while longer?”

“Of course, until you feel better.”

Sobs can be heard mingling with the sound of water.

Ain puts his hand on Chris’s head, looks up at the moon, and closes his eyes.

(Really, I’m glad that was an ordeal)

He continued to transmit his own body heat to her until the heart of the moon goddess trembling in his chest was healed.

 

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