Chapter 8 – The Lord of the Skyscraper Falling Prostrate to the Ancient King
A royal decree was truly a useful thing, especially in cases like this. In a blink of an eye, the train was ready to depart, and it wasn’t long before it left the royal capital.
Then, someone approached the window of the seat where Krone was sitting.
Seeing Misty standing beyond the glass, Krone opened the window.
“I thought it would be best if I entrusted it to you.”
With that, Misty handed Krone a leather bag that fit in the palm of her hand.
When Krone went to check the contents, Misty said.
“Don’t open it. It’s like a good luck charm.”
“Good luck charm…”
“Yes, it’s a good luck charm. ──I’m sure the boy would be very happy if it were entrusted to you.”
The last part of her voice was not heard. However, Krone received it and carefully stowed it away in her pocket.
It was a feeling that was somehow difficult to put into words. But for some reason, she believed Misty’s words about it being a good-luck charm from the bottom of her heart.
“You didn’t come here to stop us, did you?”
“Fufu… I don’t know what you girls are trying to do. But I do know that you are doing your best for the ones you love. What do you think? Should I go with you?”
In her heart, she wanted to answer, “Yes.”
But she couldn’t.
“I want Misty-sama and the others to stay in the royal capital in case Ain’s condition suddenly changes.”
She expressed her wish so that they would be able to move immediately.
“Alright. Then Ramza and I will wait here. If anything happens to Ain-kun, we’ll be there to stop him right away.”
The steam whistle sounded. Unlike normal times, it was loud.
” Now… go ahead.”
In response to Misty’s voice, Krone closed the window.
In just a few seconds, the royal water train accelerated, and in no time at all, it left the royal capital, passed through the outer walls of the royal capital, and started on its way to the magic city of Ist.
The train carried everyone’s thoughts and feelings to save a boy named Ain.
◇ ◇ ◇
The ruined Ist was as sad as the last time they were here.
They never thought they would come to Ist twice in such a short period.
As soon as they arrived, Krone and Chris looked up at the brightening sky and thought to themselves.
After getting off the royal water train, they looked up at the Tower of Wisdom.
Chris, in particular, found it a memorable place and could still vividly recall the day she and Ain had snuck in there.
“What are you doing standing around-nya? Hurry up-nya!”
This was not the time to dwell on memories.
The three of them ran toward the tower that loomed ahead of them.
The magical contamination had already been decontaminated, so there was nothing to be afraid of. The fact that there was no one to be seen working on it must be a result of this.
It was not long after that that Chris’s foot suddenly stopped.
“Chris-nya! We have to hurry──”
“Wait, please. There is something wrong.”
Chris stopped, listened carefully, closed her eyes, and concentrated.
The two people standing beside her could not see what was going on, but eventually, they saw her eyes widen in surprise and prepared themselves.
“Something is coming! Let’s run!”
“W-where do you mean we should run away to-nya?”
“It doesn’t matter where we go! We’re leaving this area!”
Then, the anomaly she had feared appeared.
From the shadows of buildings. From the raised ground. They noticed a terrifying number of monsters in the sky as well.
All of them were watching the three of them.
…..Where should they run to?
When they were looking for a way to escape, Katima said.
“…We have no choice-nya! We must hurry and escape to the Tower of Wisdom-nya”!
“Katima-sama! But there are still monsters──!”
“There’s still a safeguard in the basement there-nya! What’s more practical than protecting Krone and me and going back to the water train-nya?”
Was that really the only way left?
During an extraordinary situation and with little time left. Krone broke Chris’s hesitation.
“Let’s go. Chris-san!”
What was this calmness in the face of the many monsters that were closing in? But upon closer inspection, her lips were slightly trembling.
Even Krone was scared. Of course, she was afraid of escaping back to the royal capital without being able to do anything.
“~~I won’t care if you get hurt, okay?”
Chris made up her mind and cut down one of the approaching monsters.
Before the next attack could reach them, she looked up at the Tower of Wisdom and said.
“Go run! I’ll do my best to prevent the monsters!”
The monsters attacked the three of them as they ran off at once.
Some of them looked like insects, some like reptiles. Katima wondered as she ran that monsters that looked like beasts had also appeared.
These were all monsters that normally would not have appeared in this area.
Was it possible that they had been affected by the magical pollution, sensing the presence of nourishment, and had gathered?
But she couldn’t find the answer, so she focused all her attention on her legs to break through this situation.
Out of breath. Her lungs screamed.
Encouraged by the voice of Chris’s struggle, which could be heard from time to time, she ran desperately with Krone.
“Chris! What’s wrong-nya!”
“I-I’m fine…! It’s just a little wound! The two of you, don’t worry about it; just run!”
──The monsters’ momentum had not stopped, and their numbers were increasing.
The entrance to the Wisdom Tower was gradually approaching.
Stepping onto the grounds of the Tower of Wisdom, a small doorway came into view──.
Chris’s frantic voice was heard, and the two of them entered the door first.
Chris then entered and closed the door, activating a mechanism similar to the door to the castle’s treasury, creating a separate space from the outside.
“Hah… hah… ahahaha… We somehow managed…!”
Her clothes drenched in blood, Chris took off her jacket and unbuttoned her shirt to expose her soft skin before the two could voice their concern.
She rewrapped the bandage, which was still sore, even tighter.
“Let me take care of it.”
“Eh, but it’s okay, you know?”
“It’s okay; I’ll rewrap it properly.”
Krone’s first aid treatment was spectacular. Even Chris, a knight, has basic first aid, but Krone’s was well done, even from her point of view, and the adjusted bandage felt right.
“Here, use this one, too-nya.”
This time, Katima handed her a small magic stone.
“I know it well, the Heal Bird’s magic stone.”
It did not heal the wound, but it did take the pain away from Chris’s body. Chris thanked her, adjusted her clothes, and diligently buttoned her jacket.
“There is no way a monster can get in here-nya. Well, I think they could get into the collapsed part above-nya, but they can’t get into the basement, so we can rest assured of that-nya.”
Having regained her composure, Krone recalled.
“…Is the water train safe?”
“Don’t worry-nya. I’ve thrown an emergency flare, which should be enough to call for a rescue-nya.”
The two relieved themselves at Katima’s snorting.
Katima then started to walk slowly.
The area was familiar to Chris as well. It was a scene similar to the one she and Ain had experienced when they entered the building with Graf’s help, mixed in with the August Trading Company’s deliveries.
The steel mesh floor and iron stairs echoed with the sound of footsteps.
It was a higher floor than when she and Ain had come here before, but looking down, a liquefied magic stone pool was sitting on the floor.
“I’ll lead the way.”
Chris walked in front of them to the lower level.
Unlike that day, there was no need to be stealthy today. But because of the wounds on her body, her steps were naturally heavy.
“Chris-san. Please don’t force yourself…”
“A-ahaha… please let me push myself, at least for today. It’s for the sake of Ain-sama, after all.”
“Good grief-nya. For now, just push yourself as hard as you can without collapsing-nya.”
“Is that what Katima-sama, who had been planning to force herself so hard, would say?”
“I am fine-nya. There can be no mistake in the plans of a genius Caith Sith like me-nya!”
As usual, it was a theory that didn’t make sense, but it was a useful theory for now as much as it was laughable.
“What should Krone-san and I be doing?”
“Krone will be helping me, and Chris will be keeping an eye on the perimeter, I guess-nya. It would only take an hour to remove it, and it’s not that big-nya. As soon as we remove the control unit in the basement, we will go to the rooftop to remove the pair of units on the roof-nya.”
“I will protect you both when we go to the upper floors, but we must do our best to avoid detection by the monsters.”
“Mmm! That’s the only problem-nya!”
The two nodded and tightened their grip on the situation.
If it weren’t for the monsters, they would have easily made it to the rooftop, but they can’t blame anyone for that.
After descending the many layers of stairs in the underground space, they finally stood in front of the liquefied magic stone pool.
“Come to think of it, didn’t Ain use Ocean Currents here to stop the movement?”
“I remember that too. I remember that Ain-sama and I had a reckless act together.”
“…..A-ahem! We will talk about it again sometime! Let’s remove the control magic tool first!”
“Right-nya. Now then… Ah, there it is-nya.”
It was at the top of the stairs, placed at the edge of the pool, under the pipe leading to the upper floor.
At first glance, it looks like a jewel and is the size that Chris would be able to carry in both hands.
It was floating between the pipes.
“I didn’t know there was such a thing. When I came here with Ain-sama, I was too busy to look for it, so I guess that’s why I didn’t notice it.”
“Fufufufu, you could say that’s the heart of the Tower of Wisdom.”
With light footsteps, they climbed up to the edge of the liquefied magic stone pool by using the stairs.
Katima stood in front of the control magic tool and…
“It’s delicate work from here on-nya.”
Before long, the relaxed look had disappeared from her face, and she had a hard expression on her face.
“Basically, I don’t want you to talk to me unless I talk to you first-nya.”
“Katima-sama. Katima-sama. Even if you say such a thing now, Krone-san and I are still puzzled…”
“Y-yes… I did not know that. Is there a danger in that?”
“No, it’s no big deal-nya.”
They were relieved to hear that answer.
“At best, the power of the solidified liquefied magic stone will go out of control… nya-nya-nya! That means we’re going to ascend to heaven too-nya!”
She stretches her whiskers, shakes them, and says in a voice that is losing its power.
It’s obviously dangerous, so they wished she would have told them first.
Krone and Chris wanted to blame Katima, but it was too late, and they were sure that Katima had deliberately concealed it from them until they came here.
Otherwise, they would have opposed it for sure.
Then Katima looked at them.
“If you want to stop, now is the time-nya.”
She was worried about them now.
“Actually-nya, I was going to ask you two to wait outside-nya. But the appearance of the monsters changed my plans-nya.”
Even in the face of her last-minute princessiness. The two did not cowed even in the face of the last-minute risk to their lives.
“I will go take a quick look around.”
“Understood. I will stay with Katima-sama, so please call me if you need me.”
“Nya, nya-nya-nya! Aren’t you two scared-nya?”
“Now, now… What are you talking about?”
──Don’t underestimate these two.
They have no hesitation in risking their lives for Ain’s sake. Rather, they were afraid of not being able to do anything about it.
“Good grief-nya… really-nya.”
Looking half stunned and half encouraged, Katima took out a tool from inside her lab coat.
“Fufufufu, I was the one who issued the royal decree-nya, but after all, I’ve decided that the three of us will be punished together when we get back to the royal capital-nya.”
She made a light remark to relieve the slight remaining tension and elicited a laugh.
After that, Katima grabbed a tool and started working, her hands filled with strength and without hesitation.