Here’s the chapter, enjoy~
“I’ll be quick, lend me that sword.”
Mouton indicated that he would like to borrow the black sword.
After receiving it and pulling it out of its scabbard, he stared at the blade and hilt, and then.
Satisfied, he spoke in a small, murmuring voice.
He saw something unbelievable. There were glimpses of emotion in his voice and in his eyes.
Mouton gazed at the sword blade for several tens of seconds, then exhaled with a huff. Unusually for him, he was calming down.
Mouton put the black sword on the table and looked at Ain.
“This one is… the sword of the king.”
That was new to Ain.
“We Dwarves have never seen this sword before. No one else, even the rest of our race, only those who are diligent enough to read the old texts, will know it. So why does your highness have this sword? It looks like it doesn’t even have the characteristics of the sword I hammered into it, but what the heck is going on?”
“There’s been a lot going on at the Sith Mill.”
“Tell me about it. Otherwise, it would be difficult for me if you ask me to check the sword’s condition.”
“Ain-sama, it’s all right to talk about it with Mouton-dono.”
“Yes, Warren-sama has given his permission as well.”
“…Again, without my knowledge.”
He let out a sigh and looked at Mouton. He recalled the events he had encountered in the unexplored Sith Mill and recounted what had happened in the deepest part of the place.
“The sword I hammered cracked?”
Mouton’s face was somber as he learned of the result that the black sword had met.
He had spent a long time working with the materials of a legendary monster, and now his masterpiece had been driven to the brink of collapse by a single blow from a sword.
The fact of the matter was so great that his usual boldness was lost in the shadows.
“The king’s sword is an unknown sword, and the smith who made it is unknown too. But it’s not for nothing that he defeated the Demon Lord Arche. So I’m just grateful that Your Highness’ sword didn’t shatter.”
“──Excuse me, Mouton-dono.”
“Hmm? What’s the matter, Elf-neechan,”
“I am sorry to interrupt, but what happened to Ain-sama’s sword? Can it no longer be said to be the sword that Mouton-dono made?”
“I don’t know. I’ve never seen a sword combined, so it’s hard for me to say for sure.”
Saying this in an uncertain tone of voice, he took out a loupe from his pocket.
“The center of gravity and the overall weight is exactly the same. The sword blade also shows remnants of the living armor. The appearance has certainly changed, but the essence of this sword may not have changed at all.”
“Does that mean it’s exactly the same as before?”
“I can’t say that it is. There’s a sign that it’s different from the sword I made, and it has magic power in it. I guess that’s something that inherited the elements of the king’s sword. That’s all I know right now.”
“Just think of it as an enhancement. As long as it remains to listen to His Highness.”
Just as the conversation comes to a close, Ememe, who had prepared tea, literally flew in.
“Mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm!”
It was an unstable and unpredictable flight, but that was to be expected. As she had declared to Mouton, she held a tea kettle that was already overflowing.
It no longer seems to make sense to get into position.
“Oooh, oops, oops! I almost spilled it!”
“You stupid bird! What are you doing, making a mess!”
“I-it’s because Master told me to brew enough to overflow! Also, I’m not stupid!”
Chris smiled at the teacher-disciple relationship unfolding at her side and opened her mouth with interest to Ain, who had reattached his black sword to his waist.
“What is it?”
“You are using that sword, and you don’t feel any difference?”
“No. Everything is the same, from the grip to the feel of it.”
Krone then moves her body closer to Ain and looks at the sword intently.
“I wonder if it’s some kind of mystical force.”
It was a casual remark, but Ain and Chris twitched and their bodies quivered. Then, thinking back to that near-death battle, relief at having made it back alive came flooding back to their minds.
“I don’t think it’s impossible.”
For instance, the powerful attack that was unleashed after the one word, ‘Light.’ It would be reliable if he could use that one, but he had already tried it and knew he couldn’t use it. That said, he didn’t feel that he could use another technique.
He answered that he had a hunch that it would not be impossible.
“Fufu, it’s just a hunch, isn’t it?”
“No, nothing’s unfortunate. I thought the same thing. …I have a feeling that it means something since it was entrusted to the first king, the renowned Hero King.”
This is something he would like to verify if it is possible.
“Nggghhhhhh. Good grief! If it’s overflowing, I’ll just have to drink it!”
Due to the atmosphere, there was no way to talk about it here.
The tea kettle was filled to overflow, and Mouton held it above his head and poured it into his mouth.
“That’s great, Master! You’re a good drinker!”
“Right? I’ve always had a penchant for drinking out of a kettle ── G-goaahh…”
It was easy to imagine that he would choke.
The tea kettle fell on the table forcefully and fell on his head with a powerful thud. Ain shrugged his shoulders to Mouton, who turned his eyes and asked him if he was safe.
◇ ◇ ◇
The only thing that could be done was to try swinging it first. In other words, Ain would swing the sword as a training exercise to see if there was any difference.
After returning to the castle and taking a short rest after dinner, it was late at night.
Then he headed for the sandy beach behind the castle, dressed lightly in a shirt and pants.
On his way there, he walked by the stairs leading to Katima’s underground laboratory.
“Nya… I’m tired-nya…”
She happened to appear through the door with a slumped back and a languid look on her face.
“How’s your research going?”
“Nyahahaha, as you can see.”
The information about the half-monster didn’t exist in the past literature, and she was having a hard time with it.
“Well, I’ve got a very capable assistant these days, so that’s a big help.”
“Assistant? Since when did you hire an assistant?”
“I’m hiring, or rather, it’s Elena-nya. She’s amazing-nya. She said she didn’t want to do nothing but be protected, so I asked her to help me, and she’s very capable-nya.”
Katima was in a good mood.
“Is Elena-san commuting from Graff-san’s mansion now?”
“Hmm. From the same mansion as the third prince, you know-nya.”
However, it is still guarded by a knight.
But compared to when they first came to Ishtalika, Ain was informed that they were given more freedom.
“The problem, however, is information-nya. No matter how many excellent assistants I have, the problem is that there is not enough information-nya… The investigation of the half-monster is going to be a difficult task ahead.”
“Oh, how about asking the chief of the Elves about the half-monster?”
“I’ve already sent a letter and received a quick reply-nya. Incidentally, she doesn’t know anything about it-nya.”
“Hmm… I guess we’re stuck, huh?”
“I’ll look into it carefully-nya. So, I’m going to bed now-nya.”
“Okay. Good night.”
In times like this, Katima was the one who could be relied on more than anyone else.
Ain saw her off until she disappeared from sight, thinking to take care of herself.
After that, he walked back to the place he wanted to go.
The sea breeze at night was a little chilly.
Ain, who was dressed lightly, felt the chill as soon as he stepped out the door, but his body warmed up quickly as he drew his sword and swung it as if he were performing a battle.
With one swing, he released his sword from the basic stance he had honed since he was a child.
With one more swing, he demonstrated a sword technique similar to that used by the knights of Ishtalika.
The black sword didn’t react in any particular way, just the sound of it ripping through the air on the wind.
Eventually, he stilled and cast down his eyes.
The fight with Gail revived behind his eyelids. The swordsmanship he showed Ain.
He recalled the overwhelming swordsmanship that had never been in the realm of the imagination.
“I thought I had gotten closer than before…”
His confidence was completely shattered. All of the swordsmanship he witnessed was so divine that even his pride was shattered.
But his heart was not broken, and he had not lost this firm will to catch up.
───I’ll train again.
As Ain held up the black sword, moonlight reflected off the jet-black sword blade.
Sweat gradually floats off his warmed body and dances in the air as he moves.
He has been swinging his sword for some time now, losing track of time.
The end of this time came the moment he was satisfied with his swing. As he regained his breath, Krone’s voice reached him from behind.
She was dressed in plain clothes and had covered her shoulders with a stole due to the coldness of the beach.
She handed Ain a towel that was in her hand and smiled a smile that almost causes him to fall in love with her again.
“It seems Ain’s training is already hard for me to follow with my eyes.”
She said happily. But she also expressed her regret a little.
“I’m glad to hear that I’m stronger than before. How long have you been watching me?”
“Right after Ain started training.”
“…You should have called out to me.”
Even so, she wouldn’t have called out to him.
She seemed to have been trying to avoid disturbing Ain as much as possible, and there was a section where she was enjoying watching the demonstrations on the beach.
Ain was also Ain, whom she didn’t notice, but…
───Ain wiped off his sweat and stepped toward a large rock on the beach. The two sat down on that large rock and looked out to sea without saying a word.
“I’ve been meaning to ask you, Krone, did you ever meet Shannon when you were in Heim?”
“I’ve at least said hello to her at parties. She was rumored to have the “Blessing” skill, and some people compared her to me back then.”
“She’s a good, smart girl with a rare skill set. I heard that there were many nobles who wanted to marry her. …I also had many chances to be wanted for marriage.”
“I’m sorry, that’s how it is.”
Was it tactless to make them put into words the reasons why it was hard to say?
Suddenly, Ain stared at Krone’s profile… as if he was about to make a sound.
Ain never says anything but quietly mutters in his mind.
(Assuming Shannon was a Red Fox, but what’s wrong with feeling that Krone is more amazing?)
Normally, Shannon would have been playing the role of a childish young lady.
However, Krone’s natural behavior as a young girl left more of an impression on him, and he honestly admired her, even after all this time.
“When you’re staring at me without saying anything, I’m indeed embarrassed…”
Her eyes are lightly moistened, and her cheeks are faintly tinted red, but she did not look away from Ain.
Her lips pout lightly, and she looks up at him with a slightly furrowed brow.
“I was just thinking.”
“While looking at me?”
“That’s a quick answer… What were you thinking about?”
“I’ll keep it to myself.”
They continued their lighthearted exchange.
“You have to answer ─── Achoo.”
Krone, who had been looking for something to say, sneezed in front of Ain, which was unusual.
“It’s time to go back inside the castle.”
Ain said as he stood up.
“Hey! What about the secret you just told me?”
“C’mon, your hand.”
When she took his hand, her cheeks relaxed with the warmth of his hand.
She said a little frustratedly to him as he moved forward about half a step.
“You’re being unfair.”
“Nah, it’s nothing.”
It wasn’t so much that she was annoyed that she was the only one left in the dark about the secret.
But she couldn’t bring herself to honestly tell him about her own simplicity, which had been erased by the mere fact that he had taken her hand.
Ain is puzzled as to what is unfair in this reply.
Satisfied with that, Krone rests her body on his two arms.
Once again, as before, she uttered, “Yes, that’s unfair.”