It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (123/130), enjoy~
Looking up overhead, numerous stars shone in the pitch darkness.
A shimmering glow covered the sky as if welcoming Ain, who had just returned from Chris’s homeland, Sith Mill, a secluded area inhabited by Elves──.
“A venerable situation has arisen. It seems that Heim has declared war on Rockdam.”
Warren, who had come to pick him up at the station, told him this just a few minutes ago.
They proceeded through the still-crowded White Rose station at night to the royal passageway and then to the horse-drawn carriages outside.
“Why on earth did they declare war?”
“Because of the recent situation in Heim. Not only have nobles been kidnapped, but the kidnapped nobles have been decapitated.”
“This is not all. The bandits have even decapitated a member of the royal family.”
The second prince of the Kingdom of Heim.
The second prince may not be as well-known as the first prince, Layfon, and the third prince, Tigre, but he was not the kind of man who would make enemies.
But the second prince’s life had been taken away.
Hearing the unexpected story, Krone said,
“…Are my mother and the others safe?”
She asked Warren in a weak voice, unable to hide her trembling lips.
“They are safe. I will tell you the details at the castle.”
For the moment, she was relieved.
But it wasn’t enough to completely erase Krone’s agitation, and she kept her lips tightly knit along the way.
There was no way she could be at peace with the thought of her family, who was separated from her.
“Let’s go. His Majesty is waiting for you at the castle.”
When they arrived at the front of the carriage, Warren urged them to go inside.
Ain nodded at his voice and then exchanged glances with Chris.
He then pulled Krone’s hand, got into the carriage, and started his return trip to the castle with unusual and complicated emotions.
◇ ◇ ◇
Compared to Sith Mill, the royal capital was a far more crowded city.
The royal capital, after a long time, was still crowded with people, and even if Ain was in a carriage, he could see that the liveliness of the city differs from heaven to earth.
And then ── the Royal Castle. The largest building in Ishtalika, where the King Sylvird resides, was as majestic as ever.
However, the restlessness that wafts through the air even when he was at the castle gates suggested the influence of Heim.
“Where is my grandfather?”
As soon as the carriage stopped inside the gates, Ain opened the carriage door himself and asked Warren as he got off.
“His Majesty is waiting in the audience chamber… Ain-sama! Please wait!”
“I’m sorry, I can’t wait! Let’s go, Krone!”
He said, extending his hand to Krone, who was still in the carriage.
“We have to hurry; we have to go ask about Elena-san and the others.”
The woman’s hand was in his, and her heart was encouraged.
Without resisting the pull of his hand, Krone dismounted from the carriage and rushed out without regard to the eyes of those around her.
The knight, the servant, and the butler.
Everyone who passed by her did not try to blame her but only looked at her with a mysterious look on their faces.
Krone gradually began to run out of breath but surrendered everything to the heroic Ain, running half a step ahead, continuing to run.
After going through several corridors, they arrived at the audience chamber.
The royal knights, who stood on either side of the door, looked at the two and put their hands on the door, which creaked and opened to the left and right. At the far end of the audience chamber, seated on a throne of great splendor and solemnity, was Sylvird.
Here, Ain finally adjusted his posture.
“I’m sorry, I was a bit pushy, wasn’t I?”
“No, it’s okay. …It was something that helped me calm down a bit, thanks to Ain holding my hand.”
Despite being out of breath, Krone was regaining her usual composure.
Then she took a few moments to catch her breath and gave Ain’s hand, which she had been holding so far one last tight squeeze. Then she seemed to make up her mind, looked at Ain’s face, and opened her mouth.
They walked on the carpet leading up to the throne.
“Umu, I’m glad you two are back.”
Sylvird looked at them as they came to the front of the throne.
He looked at Ain and then at Krone, detecting a hint of uneasiness in her eyes and choosing his words to dispel it.
“We are on your side.”
He continued after he had clearly stated that he was on her side.
“I’ve already ordered Warren to dispatch a covert team with Lily as the leader. They should have already arrived at Euro. From Euro, we will approach Heim and, if possible, have the members of the Augusto family evacuated to Ishtalika.”
“I am grateful for your kindness──”
“Good, don’t be reserved.”
Sylvird coughed lightly and reiterated.
“All that remains is to wait and see. It will be a bittersweet time, but have faith in our people.”
“Grandfather, is Euro safe?”
“If you are talking about whether or not Heim has declared war on them, then there is no problem. I don’t know if the talks we had the other day have had any effect, but I have been informed that they are avoiding any contact with Euro.”
“That’s a relief. It seems to be all right then.”
Ain also patted his chest and looked at Krone, who finally smiled with relief.
Warren and Chris arrived late. They seemed to have finished talking on the way here and relaxed when they saw the calm expression on Krone’s face.
“You’ve just returned to the royal capital, and it has been a hardship on everyone… Mm?”
Suddenly, Sylvird’s eyes fell on Ain’s waist.
“What about that sword? It looks different from before you left the royal capital.”
“…It’s just your imagination, isn’t it?”
“Don’t be foolish. Warren, you think so, too, don’t you?”
“Eh, ah…My apologies. Yeah, I didn’t notice it before, but it sure looks like the sword is different than it used to be… That sword looks…”
It looked familiar.
It is an appearance that Chris knew, so there was no way he didn’t know.
And, of course, Sylvird said,
“Although I only know of its appearance as depicted in literature, it looks very similar to the sword used by His Majesty the First. And, of course, don’t think that you can evade my question.”
Krone turned her eyes to Ain with obvious suspicion, as if she had never seen the document before. The look was enough evidence to make Sylvird decide that she was not involved.
Chris, however, was different.
She thought she was being nonchalant in the face of Sylvird, but for a moment, her eyes wavered.
“I guess I have a lot of questions to ask you.”
It was a pressured voice as if telling her to tell him everything.
Before heading to Sith Mill, Sylvird had been wondering what the Elven chief was thinking, and he couldn’t help but notice the sword in Ain’s hand.
He had to ask what was going on out of his sight, whatever it was.
“You know… I was prepared for that, but…”
Krone tugged at the sleeve of Ain’s clothes as she sighed in resignation.
When he looked at her face, he saw a dainty smile that one could almost fall in love with it.
But the stoutness in her eyes contained such strength that even Ain, who had become the Demon King, would want to give up on resisting.
◇ ◇ ◇
Why did the Black Sword change its form?
The chief told him about the ordeal left behind by the first king, Gail.
It was decided to tell everyone what he had planned to tell only to Sylvird, without mentioning Chris’s bloodline or Ain’s transformation into a Demon King, and of course, without mentioning that the Demon Lord Arche was the founder of Ishtalika.
He remembered that everyone was surprised and could not believe what he had told them.
But the fact remained that the Black Sword had been transformed.
“I shall believe it. If it were His Majesty the First, it would not be impossible.”
The wards surrounding Sith Mill and the ordeal were all agreed that the first king was involved.
“Ain, is something wrong?”
“…No, it’s nothing.”
But in the end, he could not even tell Sylvird about Chris’s lineage.
It was all because of the chief’s wish.
“Your Highness, please listen to this old Elf’s wish. I promised Queen Raviola that I would not tell anyone about Wernstein. I did not intend to break my promise, but I have told Your Highness. I beg you to keep what we have talked about today deep in your hearts and to keep it gentle and precious.”
In response to this request, he could not bring himself to tell Sylvird, no matter that he was talking to him.
Late at night, after the day had changed, Ain went out on the balcony of his room after taking a hot bath and looked at the newly transformed Black Sword while basking in the night breeze.
Now, the question remained, what were the words that Gail had uttered during the battle──.
None of them could come up with an answer that seemed to be the answer.
Warren had a different mysterious look on his face, but he didn’t seem to have found anything.
“His Majesty Gail…”
The Elven chief, as he recalled, had said that he had left his strength for the threat that was soon to come.
That threat was definitely the Red Fox. Was the uproar in Heim a coincidence? The world was in the midst of a great upheaval these days, as was the case in the port city of Magna.
“Perhaps he was waiting at the back of the shrine to pass on the power of his own sword.”
If he believed the words of the Elven chief.
All this was no coincidence; he couldn’t help but feel that.
After exhaling, he went back into the room and turned his attention to Raviola’s magic stone, which he had placed in the corner of his desk.
It is a magic stone that he received from the chief when he left Sith Mill, and at the same time, magic power seeped into his body on its own, something that had never happened before.
“There are so many things I don’t understand.”
He mumbled with a smile and looked at the color of Raviola’s magic stone.
Normally, the magic stone absorbed by Ain’s body lost its color, but Raviola’s magic stone has not lost its color. The reason could be that Ain did not cause the absorption to work, but as he said earlier, he really did not know. In addition, in that case, he gained the skill called “Weakening,” but due to the fact that the effect was to make himself weaker, he has not come up with a use for it.
The azure of the magic stone was still beautiful and reflected the chandelier’s light hanging on the ceiling.
…Drowsiness that came unexpectedly was due to the fatigue of the recent past.
Ain stopped thinking about many things and decided to rest for the day.
Until the moment he headed to his bedroom and lay down on his bed. Praying in his heart that he would one day get answers to the questions that had been dwelling in his mind──.