It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (128/130), enjoy~
──They all arrived at the castle and were separated.
Tigre was escorted away by a castle knight to sign a document, while Elena remained behind to ask Warren.
“Warren-dono, we are in a state of broken diplomatic relations according to the treaty. I believe it says that we are forbidden to talk to each other in this way, but what will happen in this case?”
“No need to worry. It is a decision that Ain-sama has decided to accept.”
Besides, he said,
“Thanks to Elena-dono, we have also obtained some good information. ──Thanks to you, we have also been able to see the shadow of our fateful enemy.”
“Pardon me; I shouldn’t have said that.”
When she thought about it, Elena didn’t know why Ishtalika was so interested in this.
But when she hears the word “fateful,” she wonders if she should ask him casually. While she was wondering about this, Warren changed the subject.
“I will now go to the office and prepare the necessary documents for the meeting with Prince Tigre.”
“Do you mind if I attend?”
“Rest assured. I only need his signature on the matter I asked about in the carriage.”
“──I understand. Then where should I be waiting…?”
“We have a room prepared for you there. ──Martha-dono.”
With a clap of his hands, a servant immediately arrived.
“I am Martha, a first-class servant.”
Martha introduces herself lightly and turned her body around.
“Please come this way, Elena-sama.”
In her homeland, she was accustomed to the luxury of working in a castle, but here, her sense of value was shaken. As she was led along, walking on the comfortable carpet, she was also amazed at the size of this huge castle, the White Knight.
Eventually, they stopped at the top of several staircases.
The first floor was a less crowded place, lined with important rooms.
“Please wait in this room.”
“Yes… I understand.”
Was this the right place to bring an outsider like herself? The question remained, but she didn’t want to give a poor opinion, and she was not unhappy about it.
Martha opened the door, and after being prompted, Elena stepped in.
She wondered if she could show her inside.
“I’ll bring you some tea right away.”
She left the room easily.
The door was closed, and she was left inside the room.
The inside of the room was a… normal structure. The morning sun was shining through the room, but it was still covered with thin darkness. The large desk and the neatly arranged stacks of papers and books in the back of the room indicate that this was an office.
As a civilian official in a position that could be described as enemy territory, she wondered if she should be allowed to enter such a room.
…..For now, she sat down on a nearby sofa and waited.
But everywhere she looked, she saw furnishings that made her fall in love with the place.
The walls and floors were either heavy wood or beautiful marble.
The magnificent structure of the room made her feel as if it were the kind of office that only a handful of people in a castle would use.
Although she had been in that position until the day before yesterday and was working as a civil servant in the castle of Heim, it was strange to be in the castle of Ishtalika like this.
A sleeping sound could be heard as she approached the sofa. Perhaps the owner of this room was at work?
It would be a shame to be treated as an intruder.
With a sense of self-preservation, she left the room and tried to call someone.
The voice that followed sounded familiar.
It was a voice she would never forget. Without a doubt, it was───.
“So that’s what it was.”
It was Krone who had been sleeping. Her nervousness had cost her.
This was the office of the crown prince’s assistant, Krone. Instead of holding a grudge against Warren and Martha for knowing and not telling her, she secretly thanked them for their mischievousness.
As she was doing so, Krone shifted her body in a way that made it difficult for her to sleep.
“Yes, yes, come here.”
She let out a muffled voice and then placed her daughter’s head on her lap.
Perhaps liking the sinking of the sofa and the height of Elena’s thighs, Krone was laid there quietly. Her cheeks also seemed to relax.
…She remembered doing something similar a long time ago. That was nearly a decade ago.
This was when Krone lived in the Augusto mansion, and she was probably about six or seven years old. Elena used to lend her lap when Krone was tired from her studies or when she suddenly became sleepy at night.
However, her appearance and body are different from those days.
Her silky hair and smooth skin make Elena jealous as a woman, but this was probably due in part to Ishtalika’s technology.
With this thought in mind, she decided to cover up her jealousy.
◇ ◇ ◇
Ain was on his way to Krone’s office with Warren.
“Isn’t this getting too far along without us knowing about it?”
He said it as if he was joking because otherwise, it would have been extremely serious.
Shannon, Grint’s fiancee. And when he thought of Edward, he was tormented by the desire to detain him right now, but it was difficult. There was no reason under what guise the Ishtalika would attack.
If that were the only reason, it could be done at any time, but if they were mistaken about Shannon and Edward’s connection to the Red Fox, Ishtalika would be reduced to a mere invader.
If they could confirm that Euro was attacked by the two of them, they could move…
“No matter the situation, Ain-sama will not be going into battle, will he?”
Despite the understanding, there was a feeling in his heart that he wanted to settle the matter.
And also the feeling that it will not be irrelevant.
The first king’s villa, which has been turned into sea debris, the basement, and the information written in Gail’s diary, reminded him of what Marco had said.
“You need to be extremely careful. After all, that beast has been waiting for you to return. You are the one who was needed to settle the grudge against the royal family of Ishtalika.”
According to his words, Ain was by no means irrelevant.
(Even at the shrine, His Majesty Gail told me.)
He certainly mouthed the words, ‘I have been waiting for you.’
In the end, he entrusted Ain by saying, ‘──I’m counting on you.’ The result of the entrustment was the evolution of the black sword, but he did not know what to do with it.
But one more word that Gail had mentioned flashed through his mind.
“Be a disaster. Otherwise, you can’t win against the disaster.”
All of these words together led to one answer:
(I must have an inevitable battle with the Red Fox waiting for me.)
There was some mission for him.
He must not forget the words that Gail spun and Marco connected on the chain.
“── Ain-sama? What’s the matter?”
When Warren saw Ain standing still and silent in front of Krone’s office, he asked.
“I’m sorry, I just wondered what to talk about.”
“…Is that so?”
This lie was probably exposed.
But Ain fixed his smile and knocked on the door of the room.
“It seems that Martha-dono is here at the moment. I thought she might have finished preparing tea.”
As if in response, Martha’s reply arrives from inside the room.
“Then I will come back later. After that, I will report back to you.”
“Yes, please do.”
Ain put his hand on the door and stepped inside.
“Good morning, Elena-san. ──It’s been a long time since we talked like this. I don’t have much time, but I wanted to come and talk to you first.”
They met during the meeting, but they did not have a conversation.
Ain thought that she was enjoying a conversation with Krone, but it seemed that Krone was tired and was resting, enjoying her lap pillow.
“Oh, Your Royal Highness──”
Elena hurriedly tried to raise her body but seeing the look on Krone’s face as she rested on her lap, Ain didn’t want to take that time away from her.
He restrained her with his hand as she tried to get up and approach him.
“Krone is going to wake up, so stay put.”
Martha left the room after seeing Ain sitting down on the sofa.
Then it was Elena who spoke up.
“I have only words of thanks and apologies in my head right now.”
“I can imagine, but don’t worry too much.”
“I shall not! How can I apologize for the past? How can I thank you for accepting my father-in-law and Krone… and for your mercy this time? I am at a loss for words to convey to Your Highness the Crown Prince.”
She seemed to smile a little. The fact that Krone was sleeping happily in her mother’s lap, who was trying desperately to get by, again reduced the tension.
“I know how you feel about me; that’s all that matters.”
There was no single issue that could be easily put to rest with words of that magnitude.
But Ain was serious, and his words conveyed his firm intention that nothing more needed to be said.
It was Elena who gave up first, thinking that it would be tactless to go any further.
“Krone must have fallen asleep.”
“This is… my apologies for my daughter’s unflattering appearance.”
“Hahaha… it’s not just today, and she never looked unflattering.”
“You don’t mean to say that this has happened a few times?”
“Yes, well. We had a fight about it once before, so now she’s trying to get some rest. “
Elena looked at her daughter sleeping on her lap and wondered if she should reprimand her once.
She never thought that Krone was even fighting with the crown prince of Ishtalika.
“You probably already know this, but there is a part of her that is too tomboyish. ──I am sorry. It seems that her personality hasn’t changed much over the years.”
Ain was intrigued.
“What kind of a tomboy did she used to be?”
“…Let’s see, she used to throw away the letter from the nobleman who proposed to marry her in the trash without reading it. How is she now?”
“Always helpful. I couldn’t have asked for a better assistant than Krone.”
At this point, Ain noticed a slight change. Krone’s cheeks relaxed as she lay on Elena’s lap.
“I thought it might be possible.”
Should he say something or not?
Then he looked at his wristwatch.
“Excuse me; I’m actually being summoned by my grandfather.”
“Well, then, did you stop by before that?”
“I just wanted to talk to you. Don’t worry about it.”
Ain then drank the tea that Martha had just brewed in one gulp. It was hard to tell if she knew that Ain had plans with Sylvird afterward or that it was warm and easy to drink.
Then Ain stood up and mouthed his parting words.
“Let’s talk again at leisure. I think your room will be ready soon, so please wait and talk with Krone.”
“It was an honor to have the time to talk with Your Royal Highness the Crown Prince as well.”
With Krone on her lap, Elena gently bowed her head.
“I’m sorry. She was sleeping until the very end.”
“It’s all right. I spoke to Krone earlier and told her to wait for you.”
With his hand on the door, Ain turned around and called out to Krone, who was lying down on the sofa.
“Krone, you can take it easy tomorrow until evening, don’t overdo it, and since you’re in front of Elena-san, it’s time for you to stop feigning sleep.”
“──Geez! I thought you would have kept silent!”
“Yes, yes. I’ll see you later in the evening.”
After exchanging a few last words like this, Ain left the office this time.
Elena was taken aback by their conversation but was pleased by their natural exchange. At the same time, she gave her daughter, who had been feigning sleep, a stern look.
“Ara, you look so scary, Mother.”
Krone said with a nonchalant look on her face as she lay down on Elena’s lap.
“You know very well who is to blame, don’t you?”
“I was really asleep in the beginning. I noticed when Ain came in, but I guess you could say I lost sight of when it was time to get up… But then my worried mother suddenly appeared and gave me a lap pillow, so as a daughter, I guess I’m allowed to be spoiled, aren’t I?”
She laughed like a mischievous child and stuck her tongue out. Elena would have lost the will to be angry if she had been shown this kind of appearance.
She could understand her daughter’s reasoning. The fact was that Elena herself was anxious and happy to be able to see her again. Thanks to this, the heartache that had built up over the past few days disappeared, and she was sure that she was not wrong.