Chapter 7 – Unwanted End of War
It was almost dinner time, the busiest time of the day in the royal capital.
Leviathan had returned home only on short notice, but when it arrived at the port, many residents of the royal capital, plus the castle officials, were already on their way to the port.
Lloyd was struck by the hopeful expressions on everyone’s faces without exception.
In contrast to the bright evening scenery, the knights’ expressions were very grim.
“Step back! There are wounded people here. We’ll talk later!”
The knights moved from the Leviathan to a small boat to the harbor.
This is because, just as when Ain departed, it was difficult to accommodate Leviathan in the port of the royal capital.
After getting off the small boat, Lily had the way cleared in haste and hurriedly moved the wounded to the carriage that had been prepared for them.
Especially the two most important ones were Chris and Dill.
So, in order to prevent any unrest from spreading among the people of the royal capital, the matter was carried out in a concealed manner.
“──Your Excellency the Marshal! Welcome back!”
“Ooooh, our heroes are back──but, His Excellency the Marshal, with only one eye…?”
The people of the royal capital who were teasingly congratulating Lloyd were now feeling a little depressed.
Still, Lloyd flashed a smile and hurriedly got into the carriage with Misty.
After seeing the two who were still not waking up, Misty said.
“It looks like the blonde girl is going to wake up soon.”
That was good news.
But from Lloyd’s point of view, Dill was equally important.
“What about Dill… my son?”
“──All I can say is that it depends on his own vitality.”
He had assumed the worst possible answer, but there was still hope left. That alone was a relief to Lloyd.
“Lloyd-sama! There are plenty of facilities at the castle! We can definitely manage!”
“…Sorry. That’s right.”
With the help of Lily, Lloyd slapped his cheek hard.
When he hit his cheek so vigorously that it made a handprint, he declared with eyes full of power.
“First of all, I have to report to His Majesty.”
There was an atmosphere in the castle that had never been felt before. The atmosphere of the castle was unprecedented.
If the castle were to be compared to a human being, it would be a place of emotional instability.
In the midst of all this, a carriage──the first one to arrive at the entrance of the castle arrived and hurriedly dismounted the injured man.
When Lily saw the knight who greeted her, she said.
“Hurry up! Be very careful!”
Lily then told the knights and servants of the castle who came to meet them to take care of the injured, especially Chris and Dill, and told them to be careful.
Lloyd and Misty also got off the carriage and looked at the castle spread out before them.
Upon seeing this, Martha, a petite servant, approaches Lloyd.
Martha could sense the disquiet.
She looked at the back of Dill, who had just been carried away, and kept her mouth shut.
She also noticed that Lloyd’s appearance was different from usual. This was because Lloyd now had one eye.
In the next moment, she hugged Lloyd tightly and trembled for a little while.
“His Majesty is waiting for you. So hurry up.”
“I understand. Martha, please stay with Dill. Sorry, I can’t stay with you.”
Martha wondered exactly as she had imagined Dill’s condition. She looked shocked at Lloyd’s words and backed away from him.
“I, too, must do what must be done.”
Once inside the castle, Lloyd walked on the soft carpet after a long time.
Accompanied by Lily as he led Misty, Lloyd soon arrived at the audience chamber.
By the time they arrived here, they had not been told that Sylvird was in the audience chamber. But he was sure that His Majesty was here.
“I’m back. Your Majesty.”
Lloyd said in front of the door.
There was a presence from inside, but no answer came in. So Lloyd knocked a few times and then put his hand on the door.
The heavy wood creaks as it opens slowly from side to side, revealing the figure of a man inside.
Sitting on a throne, Sylvird, with an overwhelming presence, was looking down.
A short distance away, Laralua and Krone are standing. Katima was quietly waiting on the other side.
Lloyd stepped into the room, moving ahead before the two.
“I have to ask.”
“You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? The crown prince in this place… Ain! The reason why my grandson is not here!”
It was only here that Sylvird, speaking sadly with a high spirit, raised his head.
“You, you’ve lost one eye…!”
Hearing Sylvird’s words, both Laralua and Krone’s faces turned sorrowful.
They put their hands over their mouths and felt the misery of it.
On the other hand, Lloyd put all his strength into his body at Sylvird’s words, and then he went forward with his big legs and kneeled down on the floor.
“Your Majesty. The matter of my eyes is a trivial matter. I would like to make a report about Ain-sama first.”
“I don’t want to hear anything. I do not want to hear anything!”
Although he said he had to ask, Sylvird’s attitude changed drastically.
Sylvird looked grave at Lloyd’s injury but shrank back without making eye contact. To this, Laralua and Krone also have sad expressions on their faces.
The audience room was filled with a sad atmosphere, and Misty opened her mouth in a voice that made everyone gasp.
“Someone with my son’s blood in his veins should not behave in such a manner.”
Having been watching from outside the audience chamber, Misty finally steps inside.
A strange sense of intimidation ripples through the air as her staff hits the floor.
“Come now, my child, my blood. Raise your face and listen to my voice.”
It must be done. Sylvird felt a mysterious compulsion and obeyed. He looked up to see a woman in a black robe.
Sylvird was not the only one who wondered who she was. Laralua and Krone were also wondering who she really was.
In contrast to them, Katima said.
“Why is the Elder Lich here…?”
Katima’s surprise was evident to all.
It was too easy for Katima, who had read Wilfried’s book, to understand Misty’s appearance. In addition to her appearance, as described in the book, she has a mysterious compulsion.
The most convincing proof of this was the magnificent staff in her hand.
“The Elder Lich…? No, you don’t mean──!”
Someone who has the blood of my son, Sylvird realized what she had just said.
“I will tell you about the current situation of the crown prince Ain. I have already told the marshal and a girl named Lily, but I will tell everyone here about it again.”
“──A-Ain has lost his life, has he not?”
“He is alive. He takes strong roots in the city of Heim, absorbs the existence of the surroundings, and continues to live and grow.
“I don’t understand… What does that mean…?”
“He defeated the red fox chief. But in the end, he was defeated by the power of the Demon King that resides within him.”
Even though everyone is flustered by the word “Demon King,” Sylvird speaks up without concern.
“You mean like the Demon King Arche?”
“Yes. So, Ain-kun, with his last ounce of strength, summoned me, Ramza, and Marco, using the Familiar skill that he got from Marco’s magic stone.”
Sylvird seemed to be only growing puzzled.
However, after listening to their conversation, Laralua speaks up for the first time.
“I beg your pardon for the rudeness of interrupting. Your Majesty, and…..”
“I beg your pardon. Misty-sama. I apologize, but Krone and I are unable to keep up with your conversation. But Katima seemed to know about it.”
Neither did Katima hear it from someone else. She simply predicted it.
“I wish to ask you about the term “Demon King” and the true meaning of the phrase ‘my son’s blood.'”
The women of the Ishtalika royal family were strong.
As if embodying these words, Laralua asked Misty resolutely.
Krone nodded quietly next to Laralua, and her expression tightened as well as Laralua’s.
“King of this world, may I explain everything myself?”
Sylvird nodded quickly. Now that this had happened, he couldn’t hide the secret he had shared with Ain.
The facts that Misty told them startled Laralua and the others.
Lloyd and Lily had already heard that Ain had become the Demon King and the truth about the Ishtalika royal family. The fact that Demon Lord Arche was the founder of Ishtalika.
“My name is Misty von Ishtalika. My husband is Ramza von Ishtalika. And our only son’s name is Gail.”
Everyone was astonished and exclaimed.
After listening to the explanation, Laralua was silent for a while and tried to glare at Sylvird for not telling her these facts. However, in light of her feelings and the content of his story, Laralua almost restrained herself from doing so.
“Even for me, after hearing this story, I am convinced of Ain-sama’s rapid growth. It is understandable that his sword skills, as well as his physical strength, have changed since he evolved into the Demon King.”
“That’s right… I agreed. Oh, by the way, neither I nor Lloyd-sama have any animosity toward Ain-sama just because he is the Demon King!”
Laralua, who was reassured by their words, opened her mouth.
“Misty-sama is His Majesty Gail’s mother, is that right?”
“Yes, that is true.”
Understanding the situation, Laralua sighs, straightens her posture, and moves forward.
She moved ahead of Sylvird and stepped right next to Misty, but then she immediately kneeled down.
“I have been rude to you. Please forgive me.”
It is unusual for the current queen to bow.
Yet, considering that she was dealing with the former king and queen, it was not out of place for Queen Laralua to bow to them.
Especially when it is said that she is the mother of the first king, Gail, it is unthinkable for the people of Ishtalika not to bow down to her.
“Your Majesty. I think you should bow too.”
“Mm… C-certainly, that’s right.”
“Don’t worry about it. It would be a problem if you were too rude, but I won’t ask you to bow.”
As Laralua bowed her head, Katima and Krone were also bowing near the throne.
“Is it really okay to trust me so straightforwardly?”
It was a natural question. When she wondered why Laralua and the others believed her story so obediently, she asked them about it without concern.
“There is no doubt about it. All the information I have so far is from the crown prince, whom I trust. In addition, I have the word of the chief of the elves in Sith Mill. The tombstone in the Demon King’s castle is also inscribed that the first king was the son of Misty-sama and Ramza-sama.”
The family relations and origins of the first king Gail have already been investigated.
Especially Ain and Sylvird, there was no need to get any new corroboration here because of the story of the chief of the elves.
“Perhaps it’s time to get down to business. I came here to do something about Ain-kun’s current situation.”
“──Can you stop Ain’s uncontrollable behavior?”
“Yes. Yes, I can stop him from going out of control.”
Then Laralua and Katima also bowed their heads and offered their thanks for Misty’s words.
But only one person──Krone, did not bow her head and just stared at Misty. She did not open her mouth, but she looked at Misty with a strong gaze.
“I was just wondering, Your Majesty. Where is Olivia-sama?”
When Lloyd notices that Olivia is not here, he asks Sylvird about it.
“Olivia has been ill since around noon and has been in bed. Martha told me that she suddenly fainted and hasn’t woken up since.”
“W──Was she suffering because of some kind of anxiety…?”
As the two were conversing, Misty spoke in a lighthearted tone.
“I wonder if it is taking root.”
She spoke ominously. The word “taking root” means life and death for dryads like Ain and Olivia.
“If it’s taking root… no way, is it because of Logas-dono!?”
Misty immediately denies it.
“No, it’s not.”
“If so, I don’t know either. Then who in the world is it…?”
“There are so many mysteries about the nature of dryads that there are many things I don’t understand, but I’m sure it’s none other than Ain-kun. When he was a baby, Ain must have been breastfed. This may have been the reason he took root without knowing it.”
Hearing these words, they all felt persuaded.
Olivia has always directed her love toward Ain, including recently kissing him on the forehead as he headed off to war. If this is the case, it would not be surprising if Olivia’s love for Ain had taken root in her unconsciousness.
In the first place, Ain was born using the dryad’s characteristics.
Therefore, it was inferred that Olivia’s current situation was also affected by Ain’s outburst.
“So, Olivia is in danger as long as Ain’s outburst is not stopped?”
“…Yes, that’s right. If we can stop Ain-kun’s outburst, her physical symptoms should subside.”
Krone feels uncomfortable. It was as if Misty was hiding something from everyone.
“Lloyd! Contact Ist immediately! We must call Oz back!”
“Y…Yes! But why is Professor Oz in Ist? He was injured when he and Warren-dono were attacked and should still be in the hospital.”
“No! He woke up yesterday, said he had work to do, and went back to Ist!”
“What a good fellow he is… He is as dependable as ever. I’m sorry to have him return here, but it’s a big deal for Ain-sama. I will ask him to come to the royal capital at once.”
Krone, who was beside Laralua, asked her permission before speaking.
“Misty-sama. Please stay at the castle for a while.”
“Who are you?”
“I apologize for the late introduction. My name is Krone, and I’m the crown prince’s personal attendant.”
“…So you are…”
It would be impolite to say that it was like a gaze that was assessing someone’s character, but it was a similar gaze.
With that look in her eyes, Krone was resolute and not intimidated.
Although she couldn’t help wondering why she could look at her that way, she was searching for the truth behind Misty’s words, thinking it was for Ain’s sake.
Krone was walking in the castle at night.
She was alone, and her quiet gait gave no hint of the impatience that had arisen in her heart.
She didn’t know what to do now or how to get him back to normal. Misty mentioned that she was here to help him, but somehow Krone didn’t trust her.
She could not give a clear answer when asked why, but she thought Misty was intentionally hiding something from her.
“…..Something that she carefully chose her words for.”
While the others didn’t care, it caught her attention.
Should she ask directly or not──? Lost in thought, she walked past Warren’s room.
Then, from behind her.
Misty came out of Warren’s room and called to Krone’s back.
“Good evening, Krone-san.”
Immediately after she showed a friendly attitude, another person, Ramza, came out of the room.
When he arrived at the castle, Krone had not heard about it.
“What’s the matter, Misty──Ah… so that’s how it is.”
“You wait there. I want to talk to her.”
Krone wondered what she was suddenly going to talk about, turned around, and took a short, deep breath.
“He is my husband.”
“I know who he is. I believe he is the Dullahan──”
“…It is the first time we have met. My name is Krone August.”
After exchanging a light greeting, Ramza leans his back against the wall, and Misty comes up to Krone’s side.
“Is there something you wanted to see in Warren-sama’s room?”
“Yes. He and the girl, now called Beria. They have taken care of my son, too, and I was especially concerned about Warren’s health. I’ve been supplying his magic stone with my magic power, so I’m sure he’ll wake up soon.”
That’s good news.
Then Misty laughed in front of Krone, who was patting her chest in relief.
“You were very impressive in the audience chamber.”
“I was impressive?”
Krone looked at her own attire. She is dressed as usual today, and even her makeup is flawless.
At least, it was not her appearance that was impressive.
“If you don’t mind me asking, could you tell me what caught your eye about me?”
Misty says to Krone as if testing her.
“The only person who felt strongly uncomfortable with my words was Krone-san. And now you are wondering whether or not to ask me about it.”
“I know you care about him. I can tell without even asking you.”
If she can see through it, there is no need to worry about it.
“Misty-sama deliberately did not catch the true meaning of His Majesty’s words when he asked you and acted as if you were misinterpreting them. If you don’t call this uncomfortable, what would you call it?”
Krone, who had stopped mending in earnest, approached Misty without hesitation.
“Is there a price you can offer me for teaching you?”
Misty refused to answer.
“Whatever you want.”
“Well, what if I ask you to give me your life?”
“In that case, you must promise me that you will save Ain.”
“Will you give it to me if I promise?”
“If it is my life, I will give it to you. As long as you guarantee Ain’s safety first.”
Even Misty, who has lived a long time, was surprised to see Krone answer so nonchalantly.
There was no sense of joke at all. Her expression was full of determination as if she was really going to offer her life.
Ramza, who leaned his back against the wall, also looked surprised and looked at Krone.
“──I’d like to promise you, but I can’t right now.”
After all, she was hiding something.
“Misty-sama said you came here to stop Ain’s outburst. But you said you could not guarantee Ain’s safety.”
There is only one answer that can be drawn from this.
“From the very beginning, you didn’t intend to return Ain to normal, did you?”
“Do you intend to stop the outburst, in other words, kill Ain…? If you do that, even Olivia-sama will…!”
Her voice trembled, and her lips quivered.
But she acted stoutly and managed to hold back the tears that welled up in her eyes.
She was afraid to ask for an answer. But it was even scarier to run away without asking.
“If things continue as they are, I’ll have no choice but to do so.”
Misty’s voice trembled slightly. Her reluctance was palpable.
“It is impossible for us to save Ain-kun because we are not strong enough.”
“Instead, we’re willing to risk everything, Misty and I, if we fall together. But, well, I can’t promise you that, either.”
For example, there is the idea of releasing the main weapon of the battleship…
The problem was the flying distance and the fact that it was still not powerful enough in the first place.
“I thought about using Arche’s magic stone as a weapon in the fight.”
“But it’s probably not enough. The magic power in the stone is enormous, but Ain is a much more powerful Demon King than that.”
If so, is there nothing left to do but to give up?
Krone was about to falter. Her vision was going black, and she felt like she was going to fall to her knees.
But she endured. She wiped the tears from her eyes and looked up.
This surprised both Misty and Ramza.
Then Misty secretly muttered, “As I thought, you are──.”
“I’ll think about it.”
Krone turned away and ran out.
“Oh, wait a minute!”
“There might be something I can do! For him to risk his life in a foreign land, I can’t just give up here!”
She followed her back with her eyes.
Eventually, they looked at each other and mourned themselves sorrowfully.
“You were testing her?”
“No, I had to depend on her. The fact that we are not enough is not a lie.”
“There’s no way we could have relied on her. To fulfill Ain’s last wish, we must fight for it together, even if it means risking our lives!”
“I know. I know.”
Misty puts her hand on her chest and looks down. Then, seeing his wife, Ramza approaches her and hugs her shoulder.
“Maybe if Arche had been here, it would have been a different story.”
It is wishful thinking, and resurrection is an impossible dream, yet it is still a dream. The word “miracle” came to mind and did not leave for a while.