The reason why I became a crown prince overnight.
It had been only a few hours since they left Heim, but the speed of the ship was extraordinary.
In just a few hours, Princess Olivia traveled the distance a normal ship would’ve taken two days.
Right now, with the sound of gatangoton…… gatangoton…… they traveled towards the royal capital of Ishtalika after transferring to another transport that advanced on tracks.
(──How should I put it, the gap in civilization is too big. Why even bothering……)
He wondered why even bothering having Olivia coming all the way from such great power and to Heim.
When he quietly began to ask, Chris opened her mouth, asking something else first.
“Huh? Olivia-sama. About that Star Crystal, did the Roundharts give it to you? ”
“No, not quite correct……Why? ”
He wondered if she was bored.
Olivia was looking at the Star Crystal she received from Ain, placed in the palm of her hand.
“Since you said you disposed of your rind, I thought it was strange for you to have a Star Crystal……”
“Ahh, about that──”
Olivia explained about how she received it from Ain in the Augusto mansion.
Soon after hearing that story, Chris turned towards Ain with a surprised expression.
“What a surprise……I’d never expected someone his age to propose.”
“Wh—Ehh? Propose? ”
What is she talking about? Ain wondered in confusion.
“Gifting a Star Crystal has the meaning of a marriage proposal. It’s something of an old tradition, although it’s rarely given outside of the Royal Family……”
Speaking of which. Ain began to recall.
『──Yes. I accept. 』
Come to think of it, Krone’s reply when receiving the gem was a weird one.
So, it meant that, huh……? He simply held his head on his hands.
“But I can see why, if Ain-sama was the one to give it to you.”
She understood why it was so important for Olivia, and eventually nodded deeply.
Along the way, Ain was also introduced to her.
──Her name was Christina Wernstein.
It appears originally, she had been Olivia’s personal knight, and right now she was the Vice-Captain of the Royal Guards.
Not only was she beautiful, but also a very talented person.
“……Ahh, that reminds me. What do you call the vehicle we are riding right now? ”
When they changed vehicles, they moved through a single path that came from the ship.
However, since that gorgeous path had a carpet firmly laid over it, and they arrived at a very luxurious room similar to the last one, he couldn’t tell what kind of vehicle was it.
From outside, he could hear the sound of moving over tracks, but still, he was concerned about the true nature of the vehicle.
“Please allow me to explain. The vehicle we’re currently riding is called Water Train, and if I were to explain its principle briefly……With the use of magic stones, heat is created and then transmitted to the water in the water tank──”
(Ahh, I see. Like a steam engine.)
The steam engine that Ain knew of used coal, but compared to that, this one didn’t generate black smoke.
“Then, it generates steam and it moves using it? ”
“Oh……What a surprise. I never thought you would infer how it worked.”
“No, it’s just that I happened to read a book about it……”
He knew it took advantage of the steam generated to create momentum, but that was all he knew.
Ain was known to read many books, so that answer shouldn’t have been weird.
“What a good child, isn’t he? That kind of knowledge is essential.”
“No, not at all……! T-That just happened by chance! ”
“Say, Chris. Isn’t Ain a really good boy? ”
Ain panicked because he was being complimented due to this misunderstanding.
However, after being embraced by Olivia, Ain quickly changed his mind.
……I guess sometimes it’s good to just pretend to know. He thought.
“By the way, the Message Bird that you sent arrived at the Royal Family’s Steward’s office……”
Ain wondered what this “Message Bird” that Chris spoke of was.
And noticing the question mark literally floating over his head, Olivia explained to Ain.
“Message Bird is a magic tool. As for what it does──”
It was a high-end one-way communication magic tool, that albeit disposable, it could deliver your voice to a distance, she explained.
Apparently, that had been the earring that spoke to at the Archduke’s mansion, and with it, she got in contact with Ishtalika.
“In this case, since the Royal Family, namely Olivia-sama, contacted us, the authority to use the Royal Water Train and Princess Olivia were treated as having been approved by Olivia-sama.”
Ain and Olivia quietly listened to her.
“Therefore, Their Majesties haven’t been informed of this yet. As for the reason why I’m bringing this up……”
Chris mumbled, embarrassed to say it, but Olivia threw her a lifeline.
“Otou-sama will surely get mad, huh? Then, let’s say I ordered you all to stay quiet about it.”
“I kindly appreciate it. If this is treated as being ordered by you, Olivia-sama, then the Steward’s office will not face any punishment.”
And so, it became an order by the Second Princess. In this way, the issue won’t be treated as a blunder by the servants.
And Olivia’s father, the King, will not punish them.
“Huh? Then, that would mean……I’m a daughter who suddenly came back home without contacting them beforehand.”
Chris nodded with a bitter smile as if it was difficult to answer.
“Hmm……Then, after Ain and I take a break at the castle, I’ll have to go see Otou-sama as soon as I can.”
“If I’m allowed to give my opinion, I would rather like you to go see him first……”
“No. I mean, my Ain is tired after the long trip.”
For Ain, this was the first time seeing her acting and speak her thoughts so freely.
However, it seemed to be different from simply lacking prudence.
(Well, seeing this side of Okaa-sama is nice.)
……However, feeling a bit sorry for the King, Ain opened his mouth.
“Chris-san. At what time will this water train reach the capital? ”
“Let’s see……It should be around eleven o’clock in the morning.”
After getting off the water train and moving to a carriage, it should arrive at the castle in about twenty minutes.
In that case, the earlier they would be at the castle was half-past eleven in the morning.
“Ain? How about we take a bath together when we arrive at the castle?”
“Ah, yes……let’s do that.”
It certainly might a problem to meet the King without bathing first.
“Let’s have a meal at noon and then, after taking a break, have the meeting at around three in the afternoon──How does that sound?”
“Are you okay with that? It should be okay even if we take two or three days off.”
That’s why too long…… If you leave it that long I fear I might get attacked.
“It’s okay. I want to give my greetings soon since I’m your child, Okaa-sama.”
Hearing him speak in that dignified manner, Olivia couldn’t help but nod.
However, one could see glimpses of her hidden delight for Ain’s present attitude.
“Ahh, Chris-san. Could I have a room prepared for me? ”
“What are you saying? Of course, there will be a room for you Ain-sama──”
“For now, how about sharing the room with me? ”
Hmm. It seems it got settled with the best result possible.
◇ ◇ ◇
A short time later, the water train on which Ain boarded arrived at the Royal Capital.
The station was called White Rose and was the largest station in the Royal Capital, which boasted an overwhelming scale.
(A boarding platform for the water train……I wonder how many are there?)
The royal train stopped at a height of about one floor above the other trains.
Spreading below it were around ten boarding platforms. However, that wasn’t all.
The Royal Water Train had stopped on the fifth floor, and the fourth floor and below was packed with boarding platforms.
According to Chris, from here they will go through a special aisle and then leave the station before riding a horse-drawn carriage.
“It’s a very crowded place, huh?”
To reach that aisle, they walked through the landing platform that had nobody except these three.
“White Rose station is always crowded, and you could actually call it rather empty now.”
It’s like this when it’s empty? Ain couldn’t help but have his mouth agape.
A crown similar to the rush hour in the metropolitan area of Tokyo was a sight he didn’t expect to see in this world.
“In any case, it sure makes for an amazing sight.”
Many of the passengers’ gazes moved towards them.
However, this was just inevitable since the water train used exclusively by the Royal Family had arrived.
(Huh? ……I see. I wonder if those people are from what’s called the Anthropoid races?)
Looking around the train station users, one could see many races that had never been seen in Heim.
For example, there were people who looked like beasts, or people with gray-colored skin.
A wide variety of races walked around, and this alone would make one feel they really came to a different country.
“Ain-sama, are you curious about the Anthropoid Races? ”
Chris called out to Ain, noticing his intriguing gaze.
And immediately after, Ain was surprised by Chris’s next words.
“You might not find many from the race of the two of you here in Ishtalika. So, it will be difficult to meet someone of your same race……”
……What? Wait a moment. Ain wanted to rebut.
What does that mean? We’re humans, right? Ain turned towards Chris, having a questioning look.
“Chr-……Chris-san……? What would you mean by that……?”
“W-What? Wait a moment, haven’t you heard about this from Olivia-sama? ”
“Hear about it……about what……?”
Since he couldn’t guess, he finally turned towards Olivia with urging eyes.
“I’m an Ancestral Dryad. That’s why you too are a Dryad, Ain.”
Speaking of Dryads, were they those tree spirits or fairies?
However, Ain’s body didn’t show any tree-like characteristics, so he just continued to listen with a blank expression.
“I’m sure that when you grow up, you’ll be able to put out roots, Ain. ”
“Put out roots……? Eh……? ”
On the other hand, Chris was amazed and unable to speak.
Why did she keep it a secret? She had a gaze that screamed that question.
“Ahh! Oh Chris, just say what you want to say.”
“……No, that’s just.”
“However, if I didn’t keep it a secret there was the possibility some might find out I was from Ishtalika.”
Come to think of it, that’s true.
It didn’t need to be leaked by Ain. She must’ve hidden it simply to keep everything under wraps.
“I guess it makes sense. It’s just as you say, Olivia-sama.”
“I know, right? It was even hard for me to keep silent about this from Ain.”
However, even when he was told he wasn’t a human, Ain was unexpectedly not surprised.
And even was a part of his mind that was calmer than he imagined.
(W-Well……Right. It’s fine so long as I’m of the same race as Okaa-sama, right……?)
There was some shock at first, but he had no sense of being alienated.
He wanted to get a detailed explanation about his race, but he didn’t feel he could get one right now.
Then, as if suddenly remembering, Olivia asked Chris.
“Ahh, speaking of which, there was something I wanted to ask. How was my situation of being in Heim explained? ”
“It was explained that you were married to Heim for the sake of the country. Also, those who could travel across the sea were monitored and forced to keep quiet.”
It was a fairly abstract reason and one that reeked of conspiracy.
Hearing about monitoring and hushing, Ain became a little interested in what was it like.
“Leakage of information by people of the Roundhart territory coming to Ishtalika, or from Ishtalika going to the Roundhart territory ──we kept it from happening through monitoring and force.”
(……I guess the use of force couldn’t be helped.)
“──But even if I say that, it wasn’t a very aggressive method.”
According to Chris, there was no trade between Heim and Ishtalika, to begin with.
There were many reasons, like the expenses and travel time, but the biggest one was that it wasn’t profitable.
There were a lot of powerful monsters in the sea, and the escort expenses would become exorbitantly high, so the merchants never even tried.
Besides, it was necessary to prepare a ship that could withstand long-distance travel.
“As you leave the land, monsters that can’t be dealt with by fishermen start appearing more and more, so one would need a durable ship and a huge amount of money to hire adventurers as escorts. Because of this, it’s rare for nobles to cross the sea.”
“Eh, by rare, does it mean such nobles do exist in Heim? ”
Ain didn’t think such a tough noble was in Heim, but he asked anyway.
“In recent years, only the son of Archduke Augusto. And he was under surveillance.”
Ain was taken aback, but he was convinced. As expected, that family was exceptional.
In that case, I might be able to reunite with Krone in Ishtalika……He held those expectations.
“There were also four applications submitted from Ishtalika, but they were all denied.”
I’m sure that was coercion, Ain wanted to retort.
“In one case, the application was just refused, in another, they, in turn, changed to allowing marriage talks. For the remaining two cases, His Majesty made an initiative for some public projects and they were made to take part in it, effectively stopping them.”
That was just coercing, isn’t it? Or rather, slight harassment.
However, he could understand the fact that it had to be thoroughly made secret.
“There were just a few adventurers who could cross the sea, so they were promised some tax benefits.”
(I guess the powerful adventurers would want to make more money……)
That was a good deal for the adventurers.
For the time being, he could understand how they were able to hold people back.
Eventually, the carriage arrived from White Rose to the castle, Chris got off and headed towards the gatekeeper.
Looking out of the window, one would be overwhelmed by the fantastic castle, so big that you couldn’t see the top of its towers high in the sky.
As Ain was fascinated by that view, he could hear Chris’s voice.
“I’m Christina Wernstein, Vice-Captain of the Royal Guards. I want to enter the castle.”
As he admired her voice resounding in the street, Olivia spoke in a happy voice.
“She looks dignified, but that girl is actually a bit clumsy, you know? ”
Clumsy? That beautiful girl with the aura of a big sister that looks like can get any job done? He felt half in doubt.
“Well then, Olivia-sama. And also, Ain-sama. Please watch your step as you get off──”
While saying that, she reached out her hand.
But then, she hit her toe on the ground causing her legs to lose balance and her body to shake.
“……Here, come, Ain-sama.”
Yeah, that’s a nice smile you have on your face, but what about that previous stumble?
“Chris-san, your legs……Are you okay? ”
“Totally, I’m not tired at all, please don’t worry.”
“Ahh──Is that so? Got it.”
I see, she sure hides it well, but there’s certainly some clumsiness.
After getting off the carriage by taking the hand offered by the looks-can-be-deceiving girl, he was amazed by the whole view of the castle.
Beautifully grown lawns with patterned waterways everywhere.
With white stone as the base, a gorgeously colored scenery continued for far and wide.
And a path that led to the interior of the castle. After getting off the carriage, he was welcomed by this surreal scenery.
“Pretty, isn’t it? You can see it every day from now on, so let’s go to our room first.”
Olivia probably wanted to hurry and reach her room.
She gently grabbed Ain’s hand and started walking ahead of Chris.
“Well then, please allow me to keep escorting you.”
“……Gosh. The insides of the castle are safe, aren’t they? Haven’t I always said that?”
“Then please let me also say what I always said. I might be too late in the unlikely event something does happen.”
Chris spoke in a criticizing tone, yet her expression was soft.
“Yeah, yeah, I remember. ……Well then, let’s go together.”
Right now, the three of them walked through the castle as if they owned the place, and those who saw Olivia were, of course, surprised.
With just how often they got those looks of surprise, Chris smiled and spoke.
“There are very few people in the castle who know you were married, Olivia-sama……”
Despite how large of a country Ishtalika was, the people who knew this information was extremely small.
This made Ain have further questions.
“How about we talk in the evening, after meeting with Otou-sama. Just wait a bit longer, okay? ”
“Okay. I can wait like I’ve been doing if you’re going to tell me about the circumstances.”
“……Gosh, you really are a good boy, Ain.”
As usual, she was sweet to Ain, however, she no longer had that expression as if shutting in her emotions.
“Olivia-sama? Just please don’t tell me you’re going to take root with Ain. ”
“──Come on, Ain. Shall we go ahead?”
To take root? Is that some sort of Dryad terminology?
Ain caught on the nuance of wanting to be with him but dismissed it as something normal.
“Wai-……Olivia-sama! Please don’t just ignore me! ”
Somewhat curious about her reply, Chris asked Olivia but she just didn’t reply.
“Ahh, you over there. Go and inform Martha. I brought Ain home.”
Instead, Olivia just smiled and spoke to a knight that was passing.
“Y……YES! Right away……! ”
The passing knight was surprised to see Olivia acting without a care in the world, but accepted her command without question.
However, his mind was everything but calm. Ain could tell this from a single glance.
“Okaa-sama, who is Martha? ”
“She’s a servant who’s been taking care of me ever since I was little. She can sometimes be scary, but she’s a good person.”
I see, so she’s like some sort of motherly figure?
After imagining the form of the woman named Martha, Ain accepted that idea.
“Come to think of it, I have yet to see any of your family, Okaa-sama.”
“Yeah……I think they might be busy with something. Hey, Chris? ”
“His Majesty is on his usual duty; Her Majesty the Queen went on an inspection nearby. As for Katima-sama──The First Princess might still be holed up in her underground laboratory.”
The woman named Katima was probably Ain’s aunt.
Still, the princess in a laboratory? Looking at the confused Ain, Chris spoke as if she remembered something.
“By the way, Ain-sama. Although it might be rude to pry on this, would you happen to be hungry? ”
Somehow, her expression looked tired.
Ain was suddenly asked about a meal. But to be honest, he was already really hungry.
“Uhmm……I haven’t eaten anything since we switched to the water train, so I’m a bit……”
Perhaps because his hunger was pointed out by someone else, he became slightly embarrassed.
“A-Ain-sama! Please don’t make such a face! It might take a while for something to be prepared……I’m sorry if I read the situation wrong.”
“It’s okay. After all, Ain making that sort of face is also cute.”
Following that, Ain and Olivia enjoyed the Castle’s large bath.
Being immersed in a bathtub of such incredible size and luxuriousness, he was intoxicated by its comfort.
◇ ◇ ◇
After enjoying the bath, they went to Olivia’s room for a meal.
Following that, a person came together with Chris and spoke.
“──What does this sudden ‘separation’ means, Olivia-sama?”
She stood there with a smile, in this room that was just as luxurious as the one in Princess Olivia.
Reaching about 140 cm in height, she had a young face and round and cute eyes.
“Martha! You came! ”
Olivia then approached the woman and hugged her.
(Eh? This person is Martha-san……?)
The woman called Martha then held Olivia’s back with an expression of “It can’t be helped”.
“So, Ain-sama. Martha-dono is a fine adult──And she’s married.”
Chris softly muttered towards Ain’s ear.
“It-It’s not like……I was thinking anything weird, okay. ”
Ain felt bitter that his thoughts had been read, but he tried to put up a front anyways. But-
“By the way, what kind of person did you think she was? ”
“A thought she would be a woman with a large body and even larger heart──Whoops!? ”
He realized he had screwed up and saw Chris looking at him with a bitter smile.
“Yeah……So you were really thinking something strange.”
Chris came to understand what sort of boy Ain was.
Martha then opened her mouth as she smiled gently and slowly moved behind Ain.
“I see, you finally came back. And not only meals for you, but also Ain-sama, you really really really did it this time.”
“A-Ara? Oh Martha, are you angry? ”
“If anything, I’m just shocked. Well, you just came back home, I’m sure you’ll be bored if all I do is lecture you……”
There was a table at the center with a sofa, and on that table, many dishes were arranged.
“You must be tired, so please enjoy this meal first.”
“……It looks very delicious. It’s been a long time since I ate your food, Martha.”
At this point, Olivia shed some tears, as if a weight had been lifted from her shoulders.
Afterward, Martha opened her mouth to speak at Ain.
“My name is Martha. I’m a Royal Waiter and I was Olivia-sama’s exclusive waiter. I’ve heard about you from Olivia-sama’s letters, Ain-sama.”
“Nice to meet you, I’m Ain. I no longer have a family name, so I’m just Ain.”
He didn’t call himself Roundhart, but decided on just Ain.
After hearing that, Martha looked at Ain with a seemingly complicated look.
“……We servers welcome you, Ain-sama. Come, eat while it’s still warm.”
She surely wanted him to feel welcomed.
And although it was something trivial, Ain still thanked her for her kindness in his mind.
“By the way, Olivia-sama. Could you tell us the reason for your separation? ”
Correcting her posture, Martha asked.
“──Say, Ain. Why don’t you sit here with me? ”
As they made their way to the sofa, Olivia called Ain to sit on her lap.
Ain, of course, was happy to sit there.
“Don’t think you can use Ain-sama to get away from this.”
Saying that, Chris tried to stop Olivia from shrugging off the subject. But-
“How cold, Chris. Ain……Don’t you think she’s mean? ”
“Yeah. She sure is mean.”
Ain was surprised to see Chris looking at him with a blank expression.
Martha also turned some joyless eyes towards Ain, then turned to Olivia to address her.
“It looks you educated him well, Olivia-sama──Understood. I don’t mind if it’s after you speak with His Majesty, but could you also tell us? ”
“Yeah. Of course, I still haven’t told Chris the reason, but I’ll tell you both properly later.”
Olivia’s attitude changed a little, and she conveyed those words with a slightly more genuine expression and serious voice.
Probably respecting those intentions, the pair backed down.
After that, Ain had a taste of the gastronomy of the castle, but maybe he was more tired than he had imagined since as soon as he finished eating, he took a nap with Olivia.
As he told Chris on the water train, they woke up at around three o’clock and were guided by Martha and Chris towards the room where the King was.
“I’ve told the people in the castle, ‘act as if you haven’t seen anything’. Because of that, His Majesty shouldn’t know that you’ve returned to the castle, Olivia-sama.”
“Huh? Why did you give such an order? ”
“It’s obvious. To not let His Majesty have time to overthink things.”
In other words, it would look like suddenly showing up and saying 『I’m home』 wouldn’t be a problem.
She was able to give this order because she was a Royal Waiter and the exclusive waiter of the Second Princess, Olivia.
“It’s also for the sake of His Majesty, if we let him mull over this issue over time, it would hurt his body.”
Just as Martha replied with those words, she stopped in front of a huge door.
“This is the conference room, right? I feel a bit bad since they’re in the middle of a conference.”
“Since you came back home so suddenly, I think that concern is pointless.”
Olivia puffed her cheeks at Martha, who gave her a harsh reply.
“Gosh, I know already. But there were various reasons.”
“Please also tell me those reasons later.”
Martha knocked on the door several times.
Not worrying about the lack of reply from inside the room, Olivia moved forward.
“I’ll remain here in just in case, if there’s anything you need, just call for me.”
“Thank you. Well then, I’m going in.”
Parting with Martha here, Ain, Olivia, and Chris walked into the meeting room.
“I’m back home, Otou-sama.”
At the back was a luxurious chair. And Olivia’s eyes rested on the man who sat there with an imposing figure.
He was a muscular man, about 190 cm tall, with silver hair and a beard of the same color.
After saying ‘I’m back home’ with her usual voice, Olivia moved forward slowly.
Ain felt a little sympathy for the King.
Even as a King, he would’ve never imagined something like this to happen.
So, he opened his mouth, calling out to the big man in armor that sat next to him.
“Can you hit me?”
At that moment, Ain was taken aback.
He even felt like holding his cheek. He understood why the King said such a thing, but he never expected that the person next to him would actually hit him.
The armored man, called Lloyd, hit the King with all his might.
“Oh Otou-sama, what’s with you all the sudden? ”
“It’s obvious that His Majesty would be confused with you coming here so suddenly……”
“Chris…… But, even if I said something in advance, it would’ve still been sudden, wouldn’t it? ”
Certainly, that might be true, but would he have the preparedness if he knew this was coming?
“Gentleman, His Majesty doesn’t seem to be in good shape. We’ll postpone these talks, and it is forbidden to speak a word of what you’ve seen in this room.”
Lloyd’s words were calm but held a mysterious power, which strongly shook Ain’s heart.
His words had changed completely from the joking nature of before and were now filled with an indescribable force.
The other nobles left the room without completely understanding the reason, and when that happened, the King raised his face.
“To be honest, I am confused. Why is my daughter, who was supposed to be married off, in here right now? I have not received any reports. What about you, Lloyd?”
“I’m on the same boat. I haven’t heard anything from the knights, but Chris-dono seems to know.”
Answering like that, Lloyd threw a questioning gaze at Chris.
Standing there with an I-know-the-answer expression, she began explaining.
“Yes. Since last night, I’ve been on an escort mission guarding Olivia-sama. Therefore, I sort of understand the situation.”
Chris answered unwaveringly while receiving the glare of Lloyd and the King.
“I see……If you were guarding the Second Princess, then it’s alright.”
As was promised to Chris beforehand, Olivia spoke on behalf of the castle servants and knights to avoid them being reprimanded.
The King then said he would not question them, and after heaving a large sigh, he rested his cheek on his hand.
“By the way, why have you returned home? And also, could that child there be……”
Is it okay to respond? while expressing that feeling, Ain looked at Olivia.
Returning a small nod at him, Ain decided to move one step closer and opened his mouth.
“──This is the first time we’ve met. I’m……My name is Ain. My former family name was Roundhart.”
With him calling himself former Roundhart, the King should know who Ain was.
“Uhmm……Then……You are Olivia’s……My grandson……”
The King played with his long beard while his gaze was directed at Ain.
Even while looking dignified, he couldn’t hide his surprise at suddenly meeting his grandson.
Then, after a brief pause, his eyes lowered slightly and his mouth relaxed a bit before speaking.
“I am Ishtalika’s King, Silvird Von Ishtalika……Your grandfather.”
The strong force in his voice was transmitted through the air, reaching Ain head-on.
……So, this is what it’s like to be in front of the King of a great power, Ain gulped down saliva while thinking so.
“Ain-sama. His Majesty and I have always been looking forward to finally meeting you.”
At this point, he coughed and corrected his posture.
“Sorry for the late introduction, my name is Lloyd Glacier. As Grand Marshal of Ishtalika, I’ve sworn to use my life to protect the peace here.”
The way in which he kneeled down and spoke with his hand on his chest was one clearly used towards the Royal Family.
(I knew it……He’s a very important person.)
When Ain answered with an “I’ll be in your care”, he smiled and stood up.
Then, thinking it was a suitable time, Olivia spoke.
“As for the reason why I came back home, I separated from Logas. So, I will not be returning to Heim.”
“……Lloyd. Sorry but, can you hit me again?”
“Your Majesty. I’m afraid this isn’t a dream.”
“──WHAT’S THE REASON!? TELL ME THE REASON, OLIVIA! ”
Silvird asked in a strong voice, unable to contain his emotions.
“I didn’t think Ain would be happy if I stayed there. That’s the main reason.”
She explained to everyone what had happened so far.
At first, the story put a wrinkle between their brows, then as they kept listening, a blue vain started to pop up.
And as they heard the end of the story, the air inside the conference room felt as if shaking due to the anger.
“Hey Lloyd, get a budgetary meeting ready.”
“Let’s go right now. Logas-dono sure is skilled, but to me, he’s just a simple knight. The fight will be over swiftly.”
(The conversation suddenly took a dangerous turn……)
Unable to speak up, Ain simply floated a wry smile.
Olivia, similarly having a bitter smile on her face, shook her head.
“Otou-sama. I don’t care about Heim anymore. That’s why let’s just stop with that. ”
As for her, she didn’t want to get involved with those people anymore so she calmed down the two people who were having a dangerous conversation.
“Changing topics, am I allowed to explain Ain the reason why I married off to Heim? ”
Ain’s body trembled.
He would be able to hear the reason at last.
“Yeah, it’s fine. The secret deal has been broken, so I don’t mind you talking about it to anyone present.”
Immediate after, saying “Then please allow me”──Lloyd began speaking.
“Olivia-sama married into Heim because they had resources that we were lacking here in Ishtalika.”
The name of said resource was Sea Crystal.
A mineral that’s made from the crystallized bones of the monsters that live under the sea, and it is said to lie deep in the sea.
It is used for magic tools and has the effect of remembering magic and controlling the power of the magic stones.
“Everyone in our country uses magic tools, so we wanted to get as much as we could. It’s needed to keep it cool in the hot summers, and to warm your body in the cold winters.”
(I see. So, for things like air conditioners.)
Ain, knowing of the convenience of apparatuses that come with civilization, nodded without hesitation.
He felt amazed at the high level of technological capabilities that gave birth to magic tools for things like air conditioning.
“In the magic tools that don’t use Sea Crystals, the magic from the magic stone flows through the body, eating you away. That’s why, using our technical prowess, we create magic tools that are different from those in Heim.”
“The truth is, all the magic tools in the Roundhart mansion were made by Ishtalika.”
Olivia supplemented Lloyd’s explanation, and Ain simply nodded as if it was a matter of course.
Since he knew they were poisonous, Silvird wouldn’t make her daughter use those magic tools.
Moreover, knowing the reason behind seeking such minerals, Ain couldn’t help but agree.
It is the duty of Royalty to enrich the lives of their subjects──And it was because of this duty that Olivia was married.
“We presented Heim with our backing. And, when you grew up, Ain-sama, the secret agreement made with us would be made public.”
According to that announcement, when Ain became an adult, he would be bestowed with the rank of Duke.
That would be a measure to balance out the case of having welcomed someone from the Royal Family.
“The rest……nevermind. We spent several years researching the Roundharts.”
The previous Earl Roundhart was a wonderful man and seems like they trusted him.
That’s why Olivia was married there──but after reaching this point in the story, the faces of the two men changed heavily.
“We didn’t expect the situation of Olivia-sama to get this bad after the death of the predecessor of House Roundhart……”
Even though they had their pledge, there was nothing they could say.
“We can also stay away from the threat of the Sea Dragons, which we will have to face in the near future. That’s what I thought……But I didn’t expect it to happen like this. I can’t hide my indignation.”
Ain was impressed by his royal demeanor, but also for his fatherly warmth.
However, with this happening, there was a need for an alternative to the Sea Crystals.
“Fufu……The issue with the Sea Crystals is fine. I’ve already prepared a new trading partner.”
Everyone turned to Olivia, with a gaze that implied ‘What are you talking about?’.
Ain was the only one who looked at her with calm eyes.
“We in Ishtalika aren’t allowed to take aggressive actions, those were the words of His Majesty the First King. That’s the reason why you had to marry, Olivia-sama. ……If only they could be found so easily-”
Ain didn’t know the details, but the words of the First King were strongly adhered to.
If so, then the most that could be done as retaliation this time would be limited to the severing of diplomatic relations.
However, while laughing like a mischievous child, Olivia turned towards Ain and began speaking.
“Say, I’m sure you remember, Ain. About the work I was doing.”
“That work, could it be……To search for Sea Crystals……!? ”
I wonder how shocked should I be?
Ain honestly admired her, her careful preparations, and her continuous show of her own worth.
“Olivia, what are you talking about……!? ”
Listening to the profound conversation with a deep meaning between the two, Silvird interrupted.
“Our national research team is lacking in skill. That’s what I’m saying. While doing my job as the wife of the Earl, I also tasked merchants and adventurers with something else……To search for Sea Crystals.”
From here, it was a story that Ain knew of.
She had been doing an important investigation, all by herself, without the aid of Logas and the others.
“Where I found them was in a country northwest of Heim……In Euro.”
“W-Wait, Olivia! We’ve also investigated the sea near Euro! ”
Hearing the flustered Silvird, Ain began to recall what he knew about the terrain in Euro.
“……If not in the coastal waters, was it carried by the waves to the coves? ”
“Yeah. It’s exactly as Ain says.”
Most coves sat in peaceful waters, but the bays in the Dukedom of Euro were different.
The rocky cliffs were very sturdy and difficult to erode, but the strong waves of Euro did erode them.
──She took out a leather bag from her bosom, and from inside it, she brought out two marble-sized Message Birds.
“I came back only after having made a deal with Euro. The details of it are summarized here, so it would be helpful if you could read them.”
She then took out a small envelope and handed it to Lloyd together with the Message Birds.
“Apparently Olivia made the trade deal as a new company……As for the amount, it is indeed impressive.”
After finishing reading the document, Lloyd gave Silvird his impressions.
The contents of the trade were good enough to make the Grand Marshal show his amazement.
“……Haa, in that case, haven’t we just wronged you by forcing all this issue onto you, Olivia?”
“I got Ain, my precious child. That’s why I’ll just write it off this time.”
“──You have my thanks. I’ll make some time later to hear some of your wishes, Olivia.”
Then, maybe because she felt Ain’s gaze on her, Olivia turned to face him.
Finally being able to share this information, the two smiled at each other.
“However, it’s strange. Not being allowed to succeed the house just because of the skill he was born with.”
“Umu. In that case, I don’t think you’ll be even allowed to live, Lloyd.”
The conversation between the two attracted Ain’s interest.
What do they mean? He looked at them wondering what sort of skill did he have.
Then, maybe noticing Ain’s wondering gaze, Silvird began to speak.
“The truth is, Ain. When I speak about Lloyd’s skill, that is──”
“P-Please wait, Your Majesty! Allow me to be the one to tell him……! ”
He interrupted with a bit of embarrassment showing, then shyly scratched his head.
Eventually, he started speaking wearing a bitter smile.
“The truth is……My skill is Sewing……”
“S-Sewing!? Sewing, as in……knitting clothes……? ”
What this meant was, Heim had a different common sense.
“I was embarrassed to have Sewing with this body, but with enough effort, I reached the position of Grand Marshal.”
“Hmph, the skill that you were born with determines your future. That’s an outdated way of thinking.”
Saying that, Silvird mocked the common sense in Heim.
“I was also surprised by this when I lived there. No matter what I said, it all fell on deaf ears.”
With this, Ain gradually found hope.
If it’s in this country, maybe my efforts will be recognized……He thought.
“This is perfect. Ain, can you show me your status?”
My statuses are so lousy to even show to the King, I wonder if it’s alright?
Ain didn’t know what the answer was, so he turned to Olivia for an answer.
“It’s okay. There’s nothing in it to be ashamed of.”
“Alright. Well then, let’s see……”