Maseki Gurume – Vol 9 Chapter 7

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ED: LonelyMatter



Chapter 7 – A Life-Threatening Love in a Place of Memories

 

Everyone’s eyes were dazzled by the light emanating from Krone’s pocket.

Taking advantage of this opportunity, she ran down the ramp leading to the deck. She had to get to Heim at any cost. Remembering her earlier hallucination, she boarded the ship with even more determination.

It was not until later that the sailors’ vision returned, and they realized that Krone was on board.

“I don’t have much time left. Please, take the ship out to Heim.”

Krone, who was usually able to deal calmly with others, sounded weak in the face of such an urgent situation.

The sailors took pity on her but shook their heads, knowing that they could not put her in harm’s way.

“Fine. I’ll move the ship myself.”

“Ojou-sama! Please wait!”

“Wait! The anchor’s not even up! You can’t move it by yourself, Ojou-sama!”

As soon as one of the sailors noticed this, the panicky crowd regained their composure at once.

After that, they decided it would be dangerous to forcefully bring her back and continued calling out from the dock.

…..I can’t move the boat with this.

Krone stared at the ship with a saddened look on her face but still could not find a way out of the situation. Then Graff finally arrived at the place.

“I know why you want to go to Heim! But no! I will not allow it!”

“Grandfather! Please! Let me go to Heim!”

“No! I don’t care what your reasons are; this is the one time I won’t allow it!”

“Ain is fighting alone! I can’t just sit here and wait in silence!”

“I said no! You must immediately return to the mansion and show your face to Harley and Lyle, who have just arrived under protection!” [T/n: Changed Krone’s younger brother’s name to Lyle.]

Because of the standstill, Krone had not yet been able to see Harley and Lyle again.

Graff pointed this out and opened his hands to quiet Krone.

“I’ll say it again. We haven’t had family time in quite a while, and you need to put your mind at ease──!”

Krone looked down at Graff and the others and remembered in her mind how Chris had behaved the other day. Even though she was seriously injured, it was impossible to forget how she went to the Tower of Wisdom for Ain’s sake and fought Oz.

It was the same for her. She loved Ain with her life.

Ever since that day when she wished to leave her homeland and be by his side.

After receiving the star crystal from him and learning about his personality, she developed feelings for him ever since she came to Ishtalika.

And just now, she reconfirmed it.

She didn’t care if it was a hallucination.

When she heard his voice and saw his image beside her, she realized that her place was beside him.

So she would never give up. She mustn’t give up.

 

“Grandfather. I can’t do that.”

 

Krone had that thought.

She said it in a fragile, lovely, heartbreakingly sad voice that would make anyone fall in love with her.

 

“I’ll always be the same. ──Because my love is my life.”

 

These words may be disheartening to some who see or hear them.

They may be disappointed that she has forgotten everything else because of her love.

However, these words have a strong persuasive power for a woman who has given up her family name, gone on a perilous journey across the sea, and simply worked hard.

Whether she would be forgiven is another matter.

Graff ordered the crew to force her off the ship. The sailors ran up the ramp. Clasping her hands in front of her chest, Krone braced herself, but there was infinitely less she could do in front of a grown man because she couldn’t fight.

“Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!”

An angry roar that shook the seafloor echoed throughout the royal capital.

As the sea around the harbor soared skyward, a wall of seawater was created to surround the port of the royal capital.

“…..You’ve come!”

Two sea dragons──El and Al──jumped out from the wall of water.

The two sea dragons appeared on the surface of the sea, flanking Krone’s ship, their beautiful scales reflecting the lights of the harbor. The two sea dragons dexterously stretched out their necks, let Krone pat their heads, and with their signature skill, “Ocean Current,” tore the chains that bound the anchor.

The sailor and Graff approach the ship to stop it as it begins to advance slowly.

“Grrr.”

The older sister, El, won’t allow them to do so.

“Everyone get out of the way!”

“Chairman!”

“Get away! We can’t stop them!”

The twins did not act violently against the people of Ishtalika, as they looked up to Ain as their father. Even now, they were only trying to protect Krone, and there was no sign that they were willing to attack──but that did not mean that they were at the stage where they could be stopped at last.

Giving up, Graff looked up at the deck and was lost for words when his gaze met Krone’s.

When had she come to make a face like that? He had never thought he would feel more awe in the presence of his granddaughter than he did of Queen Laralua.

“I will go to the castle and explain to His Majesty.”

Graff told everyone and turned his back to the sea.

The ship, accompanied by the twin sea dragons, made its way to a wall of seawater, where the currents created a hole like a door, and the ship exited the harbor.

The ship with Krone on board left the royal capital as soon as in sight, overtaking Leviathan, which was anchored offshore.

 

◇ ◇ ◇

 

The sea leading to Heim was calm.

The sea was eerily quiet in the evening darkness, and all that Krone could hear was the sound of the waves crashing against the ship and the sound of two swimming creatures, El and Al.

The same was true in the waters near the port town of Roundheart, where the town was in ruins, and not a single person was to be seen.

It had changed, but it was something she remembers.

Krone had only visited the town a few times as a child, but it seemed vaguely familiar. The town’s atmosphere was the same as before, although most of it had collapsed due to the war with Ishtalika and the Gluttonous World Tree.

──But how to get off the ship?

The waves had taken the ramp during the voyage because she didn’t know how to put it away.

“Kyuu.”

El stuck her head out at Krone’s bewilderment.

“Are you taking me with you?”

El answered, her mouth gaping open in a good mood.

Al, who came next to her, smiled winningly and exposed his sharp fangs.

“Thank you. Thanks to the two of you, everything’s fine.”

Krone patted the heads of the twins who approached her and looked in the direction of the royal capital.

There was a huge tree that even Krone, who was born and raised in the royal capital of Heim, had never seen before. There was no doubt. That was Ain.

 

“Arara. I never thought you would come alone.”

Down at the harbor, standing in the rubble nearby was the black-haired beauty, Misty.

She took off the hood of her robe to reveal her face.

“…Misty-sama.”

“I knew you would come. Oh, these are the twins I’ve heard so much about. Come on in. I’ll give you the magic stones I didn’t use.”

“Kyuuu!”

“Gyau….. gyau!”

The twins, who had grown up with people in the royal capital, accepted the magic stone with their mouths without any wariness.

El licked it like a candy ball, and Al enjoyed the taste as he crunched it.

Misty recalled old memories as she watched the twins eat.

“Ramza used to be so small, too. He used to be such a little skeleton child.”

She put her hand around her own waist to show the height.

I see; he was indeed small, Krone thought.

“He is such a dignified man now, but there was a time when he was like that, wasn’t there?”

“Yes. He was very cute, following me around a little bit. After that, he grew little by little, evolved, and finally became Dullahan after hundreds of years. Maybe they will eventually evolve into another dragon.”

Krone’s cheeks twitched, and she worried whether the twins would listen to her even if they evolved. Misty sensed this and said.

“Don’t worry. The master is much, much stronger than the twins.”

With that, Misty started walking down the main street.

“I have a horse over there. I will take you down to Ain-kun.”

The horrors of the war remained in the surroundings, but Krone remained strong.

The sheer number of bodies and the bloodstains made her want to vomit, but there was no time to be scared in a place like this.

 

──It was a little easier after getting on the horse.

All she had to do was look at Misty pulling on the reins and the World Tree that was slowly getting closer and closer.

“I can feel the sea serpent’s presence… but I never thought you would really ride in by yourself.”

When they reached the city gate, Ramza, leaning his back against a rock that had fallen beside him, said.

“You should have been concerned about the possibility of being messed around with by the barbarians.”

“Right. Be careful next time.”

“T-thank you for your concern.”

The two of them were strangely kind, or rather, they cared for each other very well.

The distance between them was strangely close.

Krone was not uncomfortable with it either, and there was a strange sense of comfort.

“Ku… ka…”

A sleeping breath was heard from Ramza’s lap.

When Krone turned her eyes, she saw a girl there. The girl who was sleeping and drooling was the Succubus of Jealousy──the Demon Lord Arche.

She did not look at all like the person who caused the great war and took countless lives.

“It was thanks to her that we were able to stop Ain-kun.”

“Yeah. Arche has helped us a lot. But she won’t wake up for a while because she’s turned her life force into power.”

To the worried Krone, Ramza told her casually.

“…..Arche-sama.”

“Don’t worry about her. In the past, she has always been like this. Whenever she finished a job, she always wanted to go to bed. This time it’s a big job, and she’ll sleep a little longer than usual.”

“Fufu… yes.”

At this point, it was easy to understand how Arche might have been a peace-loving person. Krone thanked her sincerely and prayed that she would wake up soon.

“──What’s going on inside the royal capital?”

“It’s quiet.”

“You should go and have a look, Krone. But not alone. I know you know the city, but you should go with him; he will show you around.”

“That’s right. With him, there is nothing to be afraid of.”

According to these two people, the one who would guide her would be behind the city gate.

Krone thanked them in parting and stepped quickly into the royal capital.

…..I remember it, after all, she thought.

She missed everything when she came to the royal capital. She didn’t know how many times she had passed through the city gates.

The city may be in ruins now, but there were still remnants of those days.

“…..I never thought I would return.”

Especially in these circumstances.

When she was a child, she thought Heim Castle was magnificent. That awareness disappeared when she learned about the culture of Istalika, but that Heim Castle has also crumbled without a trace.

In addition to the aftermath of the war, Ain’s rampage had created a horrific scene.

“──I have been waiting for you. Krone-sama.”

After a short walk, a living armor spoke to her.

“I am Marco. I am a living armor in the service of Ain-sama.”

Marco’s appearance was clearly that of a monster.

Krone had no recollection of Ain having a monster knight as a subordinate, but she did remember the knight’s name and race.

“Marco-sama. It is my first time meeting you. My name is Krone August, and I am──”

“Aah! No! Please call me Marco! I am a servant of Ain-sama! Then it is only logical that Krone-sama would call me that!”

He said this and started to lead Krone away.

Krone had no time to argue. On the contrary, his butler-like manners made Krone admire him.

 

Marco’s request continued.

Next, he asked her to change her tone of voice, and Krone, bewildered, changed it. …She tried changing it but was told that was different, so she tried a tone that sounded like she was talking to a subordinate she was used to, and Marco nodded in satisfaction.

“Krone-sama. If you don’t mind, would you like me to tell you a little bit about my past?”

“Yes. I’d love to hear it.”

“I would like to tell you a story that happened before I was on duty in Arche-sama’s castle.”

“You mean when the former demon king territory──former royal capital, is still in good condition?”

Considering his feelings, she rephrased it as the former royal capital. Marco was in a good mood when he heard this and began to speak with a cheerful tone in his voice.

“Actually, this Marco had a particular person in mind to serve.”

“I thought you were serving the Arche-sama?”

“It was true that in the broad sense of the word, I served Arche-sama, and I served Ishtalika. But there was another person who I served as my lord and master.”

Krone was convinced that this was the same as Dill’s position. He was in the service of Ishtalika and a vassal of Sylvird, but his absolute master was Ain.

In terms of position, Sylvird was at the top, but in the minds of the parties involved, that was a different matter.

“So what happened to the gentleman?”

“──I could not leave the royal capital due to a certain disturbance, and my dream of accompanying him did not come true. I heard from my companions that he breathed his last by the side of his beloved.”

His voice was somber.

“Instead, he left me a word to wait for him at the demon king’s castle.”

“What words?”

Marco looked up at the sky, trying to recall his memories of that time.

“If I can be reborn, I want to be a demon king who can defeat them.”

The lord he was supposed to serve left the world with these words. Marco was waiting for that moment at the demon king’s castle.

“If you are going to wait for the demon king, you must go to the demon king’s castle, isn’t that right?”

“That’s right. The beast made my memory fade away, but I had been able to keep it as an obsession deep in my heart. I had been waiting for the time to come at the demon king’s castle because of the orders given by the Commander.”

The tale of the old days was now over.

Their steps eventually came to a halt in front of the decaying Archduke Augusto’s mansion. It was difficult to find any remnants of the archduke’s residence, however. This area was fortunately at the edge of the trunk of the Gluttonous World Tree, but its growth had swallowed up most of the land.

The Augusto family was one of the most prominent noble families in the capital and had reached the height of its prosperity under the former head of the family, Graff. The mansion was a sight to behold, and there was not a shadow of its past glory in the main residence.

 

──There was only one thing left.

It was no exaggeration to say that her destiny began in that garden.

“This is as far as I can guide you.”

“Thank you. I don’t know what to do, but I will try to talk to Ain.”

They parted at these words, and Krone proceeded on the ground with poor footing and approached the root of Ain.

“Where should I begin to talk to him?”

By touching the thick roots that are stretched around the area? Or leaning against the trunk? Or climb to the top of the tree? Unfortunately, none of these options seemed to work.

As she wandered along, she heard girls’ voices above her head.

“Wow, wow!”

“There’s an unusual creature! It’s so rare! Amazing!”

“…..Yes?”

A glowing ball suddenly landed on the ground, and upon closer inspection, a small humanoid creature was inside.

“I’m the Onee-chan, you know!”

“…..Onee-chan?”

“Yes! I’m this girl’s Onee-chan!”

“And, and! I’m Onee-chan’s younger sister! Mama asked us to come over to World Tree-sama, so we did our best to get here!”

Of course, if there was an older sister and the younger one was a woman, she must be the younger sister.

Krone held her head up with a dumbfounded look on her face, wondering what they were talking about.

First of all, who were these women, and what kind of creatures are they? And who was this “Mama”?

There was no one to answer her questions. She had no choice but to ignore them and continue walking, but this time she saw them following her and smiled.

“Why do you have a magic stone outside your body?”

“Eeii! Let’s get it out, let’s get it out!”

“Ah──hey! Stop it!”

Of the two glowing balls, the one that claimed to be the older sister went into Krone’s clothes and pulled out the small leather pouch.

“Hey! Why? Why are you still alive even though the magic stone is outside your body?”

“You’re an unusual creature!”

“Hah….. I’m a human. Don’t be ridiculous; give it back to me!”

But they did not like this reply.

The two lights stamped their feet in the air and violently handed back the leather pouch.

“I hate liars!”

“Unusual creature, liar! You’re a liar just like World Tree-sama!”

Krone was shocked when the tree spirit unexpectedly uttered the word World Tree.

“You guys know where Ain… no, the World Tree is?”

Even so, everything visible was probably the World Tree, but Krone said it as she thought they were talking about Ain.

Apparently, she was right.

“I know! Liar World Tree-sama is sleeping over there!”

“This way, this way!”

Following the light as it flew away freely, Krone hurried forward as well.

Avoiding the tree roots and ivy, Krone, guided by the two, arrives at the desired location. It was a large, shallow, cave-like space close to the border between the trunk and the roots.

“We’re going to go play!”

“World Tree-sama is sleeping, don’t wake him up!”

“Yes, thank you for showing me the way.”

By the way──this might be the place to be.

“Ain, there you are!”

The day Krone and Ain met for the first time.

The night they had a tea party with Olivia.

The terrace that day was now in close proximity to the trunk of the Gluttonous World Tree.

The chair and the trunk had assimilated, but Ain was sleeping in a position as if he was sitting on the chair, and the tree roots produced from below his waist were extending to the tree’s trunk.

This place, covered with thick tree roots and ivy, was illuminated by the light from the fruit of the Gluttonous World Tree, creating a somewhat fantastic scene, like a secret base. Krone checked out several star crystals lying at his feet, then sat down next to him and looked at his profile, smiling.

 

NyX Translations

 

“──Ain.”

 

She brushed a strand of hair from his forehead and laid her hand on top of his. She placed the talisman she had brought between her hands and prayed for him to come back.

Then a veil of azure light surrounded them both.

 

“──Now, let’s continue where we left off that night.”

 

Remembering the phenomenon that occurred on the balcony of the castle, she looked up at the night sky, wishing that she could be of some help to Ain.

The profile of the woman looking up at the stars in the sky was breathtakingly beautiful.

 

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