──To become the Prince of another country in just one night.
He’s probably the only person who’s had that experience.
『I hereby declare you the Crown Prince! 』
A grandfather he had never heard of, nor has ever met before was there.
And from the day his grandfather told him those words, his life made a dramatic change.
Born as the eldest son of an Earl’s family, he never thought that after being deemed useless and discarded, he would become the prince of another country── of a large country that rivaled the greatest powers.
And right now, he was walking inside the castle, accompanied by two adults.
They were at the lower levels of the castle, and his goal was to get something from there.
(Seriously, this place is huge no matter where you look at it……)
A glittering, gorgeous chandelier hung from the ceiling.
The corridor was made of white, glossy stones, making you feel it’s high quality.
“Your Majesty, Princess, and…… Your Royal Highness. I hope you’re having a great day.”
“Ah, yes…… Thank you very much……”
As they stepped on the soft carpet, a passing page bowed to them.
He wasn’t still used to being called Your Royal Highness.
He then heard a quiet laugh right to him.
“──Ain. Have you gotten used to living in the castle yet? ”
That voice belonged to Ain’s grandfather and King of this country── His name, Silvird.
However, having just come to the castle recently, Ain’s response lacked energy.
“Ahmm…… Grandfather? It’s only been two weeks since I came to the castle……”
Ain answered Silvird like so.
“Oh…… now that you say it, that’s true.”
Silvird nodded while stroking his long beard, shaking his extravagant cloak with those big movements.
“It’s alright, Ain. You’ll get used to it soon.”
The voice came from Silvird’s side. This time it was a woman, with a clear and beautiful voice.
Dressed beautifully, she looked at Ain with a saint-like smile.
“Mother…… sorry. It’s just that compared to the previous mansion, the size is quite different, so……”
“Fufu, you’ll be living in the castle for a long time now, so don’t worry.”
“Indeed. Just as Olivia says.”
Ain spoke to his mother…… to Olivia, as he compared the castle with their previous residence.
(Yeah, it would almost be fitting to call this place ‘on a whole other level’.)
The mansion where he used to live was also quite large since it belonged to an Earl── However, there was still quite the gap between nobility and royalty.
And not only that, but the country where Ain lived now was larger and far more powerful than his home country.
Thinking about those facts, he naturally felt some discomfort considering his current position.
(I was deemed worthless before, but now I’m quite valued…… yeah, I don’t know how to take it.)
──And right now, Ain was moving to the lowest part of the castle to obtain a new power.
“Umu, we can see it now. ……That’s the treasure room.”
Their destination was the castle treasure room.
……I wonder how many treasures are sleeping inside, he thought.
Ain gulped as he stared at the huge door in front of him.
At the end of the large corridor, only this lone door stood.
Ain noticed the stone door had many engravements like keyholes, which were probably magic tools.
“Inside there is something that will become my new power, right? ”
Being aware of his emotions gradually rising, he asked Silvird who was walking next to him.
Silvird nodded with a calm face and continued to speak while looking at the door of the treasure room.
“It’s been laying inside this treasure room. If it were a sword, it would be the strongest── The Dullahan’s magic stone.”
Ain swallowed again as he listened to that voice.
“It belonged to an aide of the Demon King that was mercilessly slain by the Sword King hundreds of years ago. The crystallization of a monstrous power that according to the legends, was able to cut through the heavens.”
In any case, the Dullahan’s magic stone was an item considered to be a national treasure.
However, Ain thought it was weird to call it a treasure.
The power dwelling inside of it was certainly tremendous, and if a monster were to absorb that power, a terrifying existence would be born.
(To have that become my power, I guess there’s nothing more reliable than that.)
But under normal circumstances, the magical power contained inside magic stones would be poisonous to the human body.
In other words, What Ain was trying to acquire was a power outside the realm of what a normal could obtain.
And across the whole world, Ain was probably the only one able to do it.
As he stepped forwards, his excitement began to raise further just as his heart started to beat faster.
His mind was filled with thoughts of how much power would that magic stone contain.
“──Well then, why don’t we open the treasure room’s door already?”
Stopping in front of the large door, Silvird placed his hand around the center of the door.
“The door, is……!? ”
With a focus around the hand, the engraved keyholes reacted.
Even though they were arranged irregularly, they began to move little by little, until a straight vertical line was formed.
And with a sound like stones moving, the door to the treasure room gradually opened.
As Ain stared at that scene intently, Olivia spoke to Silvird.
“Father, where is the Dullahan’s magic stone? ”
“Calm down. ……It’s over there.”
Being half surprised by her daughter’s happy voice, Silvird pointed to a direction with his finger.
Afterward, Ain was pulled by her, and they proceeded across the treasure room.
(Whooaa…… It’s filled with incredible things.)
Nevertheless, it was hard to find out a proper word to describe the greatness of the place.
There were beautiful swords, and chests filled with gold and silver, and also several chests containing magic stones.
But particularly eye-catching was the place where Ain was walking towards.
Is that the Dullahan’s magic stone? he wondered. The inlaid white stone pedestal was studded with gold and precious jewels.
An on such pedestal sat a majestic and exceptional existence.
“It’s black, but also so blue……? ”
The figure reflecting on his eyes was a magic stone── almost like a black diamond, with a blue haze raging inside.
As Ain gazed at the magic stone in front of him, Silvird cautioned Olivia by his side.
“……Olivia, don’t touch it.”
“Yeah. Or rather, don’t you try doing it either, Father.”
The two had this exchange considered what that would do to their bodies.
When Ain finally reached the pedestal, he couldn’t take his eyes away from the Dullahan’s magic stone.
Afterward, Ain had a little conversation with Silvird then he reached his hand out.
Exhaling and steeling his resolve, his stretched arm reached for the magic stone sitting on top of the pedestal.
To gain new power. For that reason, he will absorb the power inside the magic stone, something only he was capable of doing.
“──The Dullahan’s magic stone will surely help you, Ain. Maybe that’s the reason for its existence…… I’ve been thinking that for a while now.”
Seeing the loving smile on Olivia’s face, Ain nodded in response.
But after he focused on the palm of his hand and tried to absorb the magic stone, he heard a mysterious voice that didn’t seem to come from the other two, ‘Am I imagining things?’, Ain thought. But he dismissed those thoughts.
“Well then, let’s get started.”
Swallowing his fresh saliva, he entrusted everything to the senses on his palm.
Eventually, his whole body’s senses were sharpened, and the magic stone became warm, almost as if it had its own heat.
……And just as Ain began to suck the power from the magic stone, a new disturbance appeared.
(Wai…… what!? This……What’s happening──?)
The magic stone, the Dullahan’s magic stone acted as if it had a will of its own.
Contrary to Ain’s intention, it appeared as if the magic stone itself was the one making the power flow── or so it seemed to Ain.
──Then, at that moment.
“Ngg──T-This is……!? ”
With the magic stone in Ain’s hand as the center, a force spread like an explosion.
“Olivia! Get behind me──”
Raising his arm in caution to protect Olivia, Silvird goes back down one step.
On the other hand, Ain only felt it as a slight wind pressure that made his hair flutter.
Light leaked out of the magic stone in the shape of lightning, creating a vortex as it overlapped with the strong wind pressure, Ain’s whole body then wrapped up in the black and blue fog.
(Wait, wait, wait──Is this alright!? )
Against his own will, the Dullahan’s magic stone continued to yield its power onto Ain.
That fog was gradually absorbed into his body and at the same time, an omnipotent feeling began to dwell in his body.
“AIN! If you feel something is wrong, let go of it! ”
For the first time, Silvird’s heartfelt worried yell came to Ain.
The leaking light became a bolt of purple lightning, surrounding the black and blue fog.
“U-understood! But……! ”
Even though he wanted to let it go, his hands were seemingly glued to the stone.
However, as if noticing Ain’s anxiety, the magic stone gave out a mysterious warmth.
The strong light and wind pressure gradually settled, and the fog enveloping Ain immediately faded away.
The only thing left was a light running across his body like a lightning.
But even so, after flashing for a few seconds, it went silent and was also absorbed into his body.
“Is……Is it over……? ”
“……Yeah. Looks like it’s now over, Father.”
After all that clash, the three people were greeted by a sudden calmness.
Returning the magic stone to the pedestal, Ain turned around and faced the two who were approaching.
“I’m sorry. Looks like I’ve worried you……”
After he said that, Ain opened and clenched both his hands, then showed an expression filled with a sense of accomplishment.
“Looks like I succeeded. All across my body, there’s this sense of completeness.”
It was a feeling like being reborn, like if his five senses had been renewed.
And even though they had worried about his condition, Ain’s body felt quite light.
Calming his anxiety down, Silvird laughed loudly causing his wrinkles to become more apparent.
“HAHAHAHA! Indeed! After all, you’ve absorbed the power of a legendary monster! ”
“Fufu…… Just like your grandfather says. Oh, Ain, you’ve surely become cuter.”
Olivia smiled with her hand over her mouth and slowly walked next to Ain.
She then softly patted Ain’s head and hugged him close to her chest.
After receiving her love for a while, Ain then took out a card from his pocket to show her how strong he had become.
(In any case, the Dullahan’s magic stone had a taste like coffee, huh? ……It was a delicious flavor.)
The rich smell and deep texture were felt with Ain’s whole body.
It was a comforting taste, with a somewhat luxurious feeling.
“The Dullahan’s armor, it was a skill that used magical power to bright forth that. You might be able to use those powers too, Ain! ”
He was so excited about the words of Silvird, that he turned his shining eyes towards the card.
Looking at the stats’ numbers that had increased significantly, a smile naturally spilled.
At that moment, by chance, the life he led before coming to the castle── the life in the Earl’s house, in which he was discarded, crosses his mind.
(I wonder if my little brother has been selected as the next head of the family?)
To this day, he experienced plenty of feelings there.
──And that life filled with ups and downs all started with that encounter with God.
She was somewhat lax and easy to talk to God…… He remembered the conversation he had at that time.