The seasons come and go . Even if people stop growing, it never stops .
That was also the case here at the Royal Kingsland Academy .
Three years have passed since Ainz entered the academy . Ainz had not been demoted from the first group, and was living his academy life smoothly .
「So I said to him, “Your muscles are really like a slug huh”」
「What’s that? Are you belittling me?」
「You’re still talking rudely to His Highness aren’t you . Also, slugs are made almost entirely of muscle . That’s why it doesn’t make sense to discredit them in terms of muscle」
「Ha, hahaha . . . . But there’s something wrong with the slugs floating there」
It’s mid-day and the sun is not yet weak . On the open terrace at the Royal Kingsland Academy, several students were talking to each other .
They were not skipping classes, but were allowed to attend classes freely .
As they nibbled on the tea they had ordered and a few sweets, the conversation became lively .
The man who suddenly uttered the word “slug” was Butts . Despite his appearance, he has an intellectual mind and took the social science entrance exam . However, Butts’ family is a baronial family that has been knights in Ishtalica for generations, and he himself is good at swordsmanship . It seems that the reason why he took the social science exam was as part of his parents’ education .
It was Ainz who asked him if he has belittling him . In the past three years, his body had grown a lot, and his gentle, charming face had gradually acquired a male charm .
The man who called Ainz “His Highness” was Leonard . He is the heir to a ducal family and has a high knowledge of internal affairs . He passed the entrance exam in the social sciences, and he has been a member of the first group since his first year .
Finally, Roland . He is the man that Ainz spoke to on his first day at the academy . He has a high level of knowledge in the development of magical tools, and is highly regarded as a promising prospect not only within the academy, but also by Ishtalica . Roland is the only one who was born a commoner .
In Ainz’s generation, the four of them were the only ones who could stays as the first group together .
Thereafter, they had a fixed number of members to talk to, and as a result, the four of them were the ones who always hung out at the academy
「No, Leonard, what are you talking about, It’s still small and weak . Are you a fool huh」
「That’s why I’m not going to let you talk me out of my muscles . . . . No, it’s fine . I was wrong . . . . 」
「 . . . . . Haah . Butts are smart, but why is our conversation end up like this huh」
「Eh? Leonard . . . . . Slugs are all muscle? I didn’t know that」
In this way, Ainz gained a friend with whom he can be naturally get along . When they heard this report from the academy, not only the royal family, including Sylvird, but also Lloyd and the others were greatly pleased .
Three years have passed since he entered the academy, and Ainz is now in his fourth year, which means he is almost eleven years old . He continued to perform well in his exams at the academy and was not demoted from his class . He has also continued to train at the castle, and has grown into a strong and splendid young man .
He has also grown in height, and is now taller than the average height of his age group .
「N-no, Your Highness . It’s not like I was trying to humiliate you or anything! It’s just that Butts is really weak」
「Hey, Ainz . I feel like I’m being really degraded, like when I said I was a slug earlier」
「Don’t worry, it’s not as if you’re going to be a slug . It’s because, you’re already one of them」
「Even Ainz-sama was so eager to add fuel to the fire huh . . . . . 」
It was fun for Ainz to get together with these people and talk .
They are all hardworking people, and they gather together with a mellow feeling .
Three years have passed, and Ainz no longer has a bodyguard on campus . This is because Dill has graduated .
He is now working hard in the castle as an apprentice knight and Ainz’s personal bodyguard .
It was safe to say that several people were gathered together, and that a few people are from noble families, which was not a bad thing for Sylvird and the others .
「Speaking of which, Roland . I heard that the magic tool you made the other day got another positive review . Nice work!」
「Ah, Thanks Butts . It’s just something that happened to work . I’m glad it worked out」
「It’s not something to be modest about, Roland . I think you should be proud of your accomplishments, since it has caught the attention of the country」
Butts abruptly changes the conversation again . The next topic of conversation was about the magic tools that Roland had made . The magic tools that Roland had made had caught the attention of the government and were highly valued .
「That’s great then, Roland . So, are you coming to the castle next time?」
「No, I’ve been given the opportunity to talk to someone from the Development Bureau at the academy . So, I’m not sure what’s going to happen after that」
「I’m sure you’ll create a new mechanism to replace the sea crystals eventually, Roland」
As Leonard said, the matter of sea crystals was an urgent matter for Ishtalica .
Leonard, who had been raised as the heir to a ducal family, had been educated on the issue of sea crystals at home and understood their importance .
Even though we had made a deal with Euro, the new development was urgent, as there was no guarantee that it would last forever .
「Well . I think I’m going to train now」
They had been talking for a while, so a good amount of time had passed . Butts left his seat, saying that it was time to go to training .
「I’ll be in the workshop for a bit」
「I think I’ll go to the library and do some self-study . Now, if you’ll excuse me, Your Highness . . . . Don’t follow me」
After Butts, Roland and Leonard left their seats and the gathering seemed to be breaking up .
Then Leonard noticed someone coming towards him .
「That looks . He’s a member of the knight huh, so he’s here for Ainz, right?」
「We’ll wait until that knight gets here, just in case」
Leonard said he would wait for a moment, because he was concerned if it’s a knight is a guise to attack Ainz .
「Yeah, I guess」
Roland replies to him . The three of them stand by Ainz’s side .
「Excuse me, Ainz-sama . I received a message from Lloyd-sama, and have come to the academy in a hurry」
After saying that, he presented his status card . Since it was confirmed that he was definitely a knight of Ishtalica, Leonard and the other three also stepped back behind Ainz .
「Thank you . So what’s the story?」
「 . . . . . This is confidential」
After hearing those words, Leonard and the others decided to leave .
「Your Highness . Now if you’ll excuse me」
「Have a nice day, Your Highness」
「I’ll see you tomorrow, Your Highness」
Leonard was followed by Butts and Roland, who greeted him . Since they were in front of the castle’s knights, both Butts and Roland changed their tone of voice, and called Ainz with “Your Highness .
「Yeah . See you tomorrow then」
After confirming that the three of them had left, the knight began to talk about the contents of the message .
「A dangerous beast has appeared . Chris-sama is on her way to deal with it . She has some things to tell you about that beast, so she would like you to return to the castle today」
I wondered why Chris was on her way to deal with the beast . Chris was one of the most talented people in Ishtalica, and she was the vice commander of the Knight Order, Olivia’s personal guard, and sometimes Ainz’s guard as well .
When I heard that Chris had gone out of her way to defeat the beast, I couldn’t understand it .
Upon looking closely at him, the expression of the knight who had come to deliver the message was not good either . He looked as if he was holding something back, and I sensed that something unusual was going on . He only referred to it as a dangerous beast, and the degree of danger probably did not fit into that one word .
「 . . . . . . I’m heading back to the castle now . Escort me」
There were several other knights at the entrance of the academy . The knight who came to deliver the message and the knight who was waiting were all wearing the armor of the Knight Order .
「Thank you for picking me up . I will now return to the castle」
Ainz’s attitude toward the knights had become that of royalty . If it was an unforeseen situation like today, he was grateful that he could take this simple attitude .
Even in times like these, the water train is the fastest way to travel, so we all took the water train back to the White Rose station .
The water train, which only had normal cars, was filled with many knights of the Knight Order and Ainz, who was being guarded by them . Seeing them, the other passengers wondered what was going on .
However, no one could speak to them due to their strange atmosphere .
「Get the carriage」
「We have prepared it here for you」
「Please get in . Ainz-sama」
The carriage that had been prepared was a specially made carriage pulled by four horses . It was faster than the carriages that Ainz usually used, and Ainz found the fact that the carriages were had already prepared was strange .
「 . . . . . Yeah . All right . Hurry up and get going」
There is no need to point that out . We have to get to the castle first . Hurriedly getting into the carriage, Ainz hurried the departure .
Then the knights of the Knight Order mounted their horses and set off to surround the carriage in which Ainz rode .
The carriages were running much faster than usual, and the knights of the Knight Order of Ishtalica were running around it .
It was a sight that did not fit the usual peaceful main street of the royal capital .
Ainz was thinking in the carriage . What was the dangerous beast is? Where was it headed? And why did Chris have to go out there? The message came from Lloyd, which meant that Lloyd was probably at the castle . As soon as we got there, he had to ask Lloyd about it .
Ainz stomped on the ground in the carriage, eagerly awaiting his arrival to the castle . As if he was heartless, if he had only heard that the knights were on their way to defeat it, he might not have been so worried .
Chris, who had always been his guard and had trained him . She was the knight closest to him, so he couldn’t help but think of her as someone important .
「Excuse my haste! Ainz-sama, we have arrived!」
「Don’t worry about it! I’m heading to His Majesty now!」
「We will escort you to the place where His Majesty is!」
Having arrived at the castle, the knights opened the door without knocking, unlike usual .
Although it was blameworthy, it was nice to see that the knights were also in a hurry .
Ainz hurried to the place where Sylvird was waiting, because Lloyd would be there too .
「Your Highness! Welcome back!」
「Welcome home, Your Highness! His Majesty is in the Great Council Chamber!」
「Yeah, okay . Let me go as it is」
It was noisy in the castle, but when the knights noticed Ainz’s arrival, the serving staff bowed their heads in unison and greeted him .
However, the elegance that they possess is not in full force today .
It was the same for Ainz, who was heading for the main conference room in a hurry, almost like running .
The knights following him were in a hurry as well, but there was no one to blame for that .
And when he arrived at the main conference room, he found that there was so much commotion inside that he could tell from the outside .
But not caring about that at all, Ainz opened the door of the main conference room without knocking .
Then, in an instant, the main conference room fell silent .
「 . . . . Your Majesty . Crown Prince Ainz has just returned to the castle」
「Umu . I’m sorry about the short notice」
「No, I don’t mind . I’m sorry to interrupt your meeting, but could you please explain?」
Ainz’s appearance is different from what he usually shows, and he has a strong attitude that says he won’t allow a single objection .
His aura shows that he’s a royalty .
Ainz looked around the conference room . The fact that he could see Olivia, who was not normally in the conference room, made him feel uncomfortable . Olivia kept her head down and did not look at Ainz .
「I’m sorry . Everyone let’s continue the meeting . Ainz, come here」
Sylvird called Ainz to close to him . At his side was Olivia, who had her head down, and Warren and Lloyd, who looked unusually serious .
「I’ve just returned from receiving a message from Lloyd . What the hell happened? I was only told that it was about a dangerous beast」
「Let me explain it to you, Ainz-sama」
Lloyd, answers, and stepped forward to explain .
「Sea Dragon . They’re appearing off the coast of the port city of Magna, and when I say off the coast, I mean nearby」
「 . . . . It’s so dangerous that Chris has to show up huh?」
Now that several years have passed, Ainz is able to talk to Lloyd in this way .
However, perhaps because she had been his sword master, he had not yet been able to use the honorific title of “san” for her .
「Ainz . . . . . Ainz . . . . ! Chris is, Chris is」
「Mo-mother!? What was happened!」
Olivia, flustered, finally muttered something in a very small voice . Chris is going to die . . . . . . she said .
「That is . . . . . What’s the meaning of it!」
「Ainz-sama . Lloyd-dono will explain the rest of the story to you」
Warren, who was standing beside me, said calmly, “Lloyd will tell you the rest” . He didn’t say it clearly, but I guess he meant to tell me to calm down .
「Sea dragons appear approximately every 100 years . They are very large, almost half the size of Princess Olivia . And because of their size, they are very strong and violent . They take about a hundred years to grow, and then they come back to attack」
「In Ishtalica, it has appeared many times before . Each time, it caused a lot of damages . We had to sacrifice many knights, commanders, and ships to finally defeat them」
「 . . . . I know it’s dangerous . But I’m sure the technology is much more advanced than it was then . And yet」
Warren’s explanation followed Lloyd’s . Hearing this, Ainz was still not convinced .
But why does Chris have to go? He was about to say that .
But he mustn’t say anything about it . The other knights also had families and lives .
「 . . . . . This is an unusual situation . We’ve sent out some warships, but this time there are . . . . . 2 sea dragons」
Warren spoke . That made Ainz understand what Olivia meant when she said that Chris was going to die .
It wouldn’t be a simple calculation, purely doubling . The damage at which we would be affected would also double, and he wondered how difficult it would be to think about that .
「Then why Lloyd-san is here! There must be a private ship we have! Is that out there yet!」
「 . . . . Lloyd-dono should not move from here . The castle’s defenses will be thin in the event of an emergency . And His Majesty’s private ship is indeed powerful . But we can’t take it out, it’s too incompatible with the Sea Dragon . At best, it’s just an easy target」
Hearing his reply, Ainz turned over and kept his mouth shut . Can’t we do anything? Am I just going to stay in the castle when Chris is in danger? He asked himself that question .
Ainz is the Crown Prince . The crown prince shouldn’t die yet, and that’s absolutely unacceptable because the future of the country counts on him . But still, he couldn’t allow this situation to happen .
「Chris is a knight who can use high level wind magic . That’s why, in this situation . . . . . she personally told us that she would head there herself . No, we were spoiled at her word」
What Sylvird tells is not a mistake . The king has not made a wrong decision, and it is probably the right thing to do .
The only question is whether or not he is convinced . Of course, Ainz is not convinced at all . Even if it was said that it was a necessary thing for a royal family, Ainz, who was still young and cared for Chris, couldn’t accept it .
「 . . . . I’m heading to Magna . I’ll take the royal train」
He turned to Sylvird and said that, and Sylvird’s face was still stern, as if he had expected it .
「You understand that I would never allow it, right?」
「He knows it, and he still says it」
「Ainz-sama, you are the crown prince, if anything should happen to you . . . . . Your body is already not yours alone」
Warren spoke to Ainz to try to calm him down . What Ainz was thinking would disqualify him as the crown prince . Still, Ain couldn’t stop it .
「Me too . I’ll stop you from going to Magna no matter what」
「Lloyd-san . But it’s not up to me to just sit here and keep quiet . Your Majesty . . . . at least, please let me go to Magna . I beg your permission」
「I’ll say it again . No」
They say they’re just going to Magna, but I don’t think they’ll just stop there . That’s why we can’t let them go from Magna .
「Ainz . You can’t . . . . . to put Ainz in that kind of danger is . . . . . !」
Olivia told him with tears in her eyes . Olivia’s words, even with tears in her eyes, put a strong pressure on Ainz’s heart, but he still couldn’t imagine just waiting here for Chris .
「Olivia even said that to you . And yet, Ainz, you are the crown prince, and yet you still speak of wanting to go to Magna!」
The majesty of the king that Sylvird exudes . The words pierced Ainz’s body so strongly that he somehow felt as if the air was crashing against him .
「 . . . . Yes . I’m still going to Magna」
「Is that so, very well then」
When Sylvird said that he understood, Ainz felt a little hope . But at that moment, Ainz’s consciousness flew away .
「It’s no use trying to stop him huh . . . . . Lloyd, I left you with an unpleasant role」
「No sir . This is my job」
「I’m sorry, Ainz . . . . Ainz . . . 」
Ainz was knocked unconscious by Lloyd . It was a show of force as he realized that it was useless to stop him .
The people in the conference room were not expecting him to use force and could not hide their surprise .
「Haah, Ainz is a good boy who is kind and has strong feelings for his friends . You know that, don’t you?」
「Of course, Your Majesty . That is why I thought this might happen」
「 . . . . That’s right . But Ainz-sama is the future of our Ishtalica . I can’t let him go into danger . Your Majesty, should I take Ainz-sama to his room?」
「Kadyma is in the lab . She’s going to keep him quiet for a while in the basement lab, and I’m sure Kadyma won’t let him out . Kadyma is well aware of this aspect」
After replying and bowing his head, Lloyd went to Kadyma’s lab .
Ainz would have to cool down there for a while .
「Did you wake up nya?」
Ainz woke up in Kadyma’s laboratory, a place he used to frequent .
Today, it was locked from the outside, so it was not easy to get out .
「 . . . . I never thought they would do me with force」
「Feeling better nya?」
「I’m fine . I don’t know what to do now . I mean, my head’s a little messed up」
「Then you should be relieved to know that you’re normal nya」
Ainz get up . He was lying on the sofa in the lab, a comfortable place to sleep since Kadyma had installed a high-quality sofa .
「Hey . Just out of curiosity, you’re not going to let me out, are you?」
「I’m not letting you out nya . Even if I let you out, you can’t even leave the room nya」
「As expected . Then, I’m stuck in here huh?」
「There is one thing you can do . Kill me here, and let the people outside pick the lock . Then, once you’re out of here, you’ll escape the castle without being caught, and head for the train station」
「 . . . . . . What a stupid thing to say . So, you’re saying there’s nothing I can do huh」
It was hard for Ainz to think of anything to do after what he had been through .
He didn’t want to think about harming Kadyma, and it would be difficult to open the lock .
「No, I have one . I can use the Dark Knight to force my way out」
What Ainz came up with was to use the power of the dark knight to destroy the door, normally that would have been no problem, but today it was not possible .
「 . . . . I didn’t think you’d go that far nya . This room is magic-proof nya . A perfectly designed seal has been prepared, and it is not possible to break through such a fortress nya . Unless it was the demon king or something close to it nya . . . . 」
After hearing what Kadyma had said, Ainz had no other choice . Is there really nothing more I can do, or is this the end? The only thing I can do is wait for Chris to return safely . . . . . . . When I thought about it, I felt like I was going crazy .
「Does Kadyma-san had some advice for me?」
「Just wait in silence nya . Pray for Chris to gets home safely nya」
「Pray to God huh」
Ainz thought about God for the first time in a long time, and he couldn’t deny that he hadn’t thought about it . In fact, he even forgot that he is reincarnated, even the time when he got the toxin decomposition by pulling a gacha was vague .
「Haah . . . . . O God, Child-like Goddess . Please, somehow, give me enlightenment」
Not expecting it, Ainz prayed . He didn’t know if she was looking at him or not . But it was better than nothing, and he prayed .
「What kind of prayer is that nya . . . . You don’t look like praying nya」
「It’s fine . She’ll understand」
「I don’t know what you’re talking about, but okay . You can do it until you’re satisfied」
「I’ll do so」
And so, I continued my prayer . Young girl . . . . I wonder what she’s doing now . I wonder if she’s still wearing those cold catching clothes? I think, if it’s me, I’m going to go crazy if I stay in that white place all the time . Can I reach her with this? What a disrespectful thing to think about huh .
In the midst of all my disrespectful thoughts, suddenly, I felt as if time had stopped for a moment .
『Look at this room, You fool . . . 』
Then the atmosphere returned to normal, time that seemed to have stopped for a moment began to move again .
「Yes . . . . Thank you, Goddess」
「Did you say something nya?」
Was the voice an auditory hallucination or was it a real voice? Such things were beyond Ainz’s comprehension .
But he thought it was definitely a hint . He looks around the room . . . . . . There must be something in this lab .
I felt grateful for her advice .
「If you’re not busy, can you help . Here’s the magic stone Ainz bought nya! I need to study this nya! I bought it a while ago and I still haven’t been able to translate it nya! I can’t make any progress on my research if it continues like this nya!」
It was Kadyma’s way of caring . She talked as if we were having a normal conversation to take my minds off things .
Ainz was grateful for that . But gratitude was not enough to end this situation .
. . . . . . And then, Ainz finally found it . From the hints Goddess had given him, there was one possible solution .
「Thank you, Goddess . . . . . . You’re still looking out for me, aren’t you」
「A-Ainz? What are you talking about nya?」
「No, it’s nothing . Yeah, let me help you」
「Th-that’s fine then nya」
Kadyma was a little puzzled, but when she was told that it was nothing, she returned to the conversation .
Ainz then went to Kadyma’s side .
「But, about this magic stone . I really don’t know what it is」
「Yeah nya, That’s why this document is supposed to be the clue nya . . . . Good grief, I still can’t translate it nya」
Kadyma complained to Ainz as he looked at the high-class book, which Ainz found no problem with .
Beside her, Ainz went over to the magic stone and opened the sealing case .
「Kadyma-san . I’m sorry」
「Nn? What it is nyaー?」
Kadyma replies while looking at her book . Kadyma, who didn’t know what his word “sorry” meant, replied without hesitation .
「Ugh . . . . Coming, it’s coming . . . . !」
Ainz then begins to absorb the magic stone he opened . He felt something is surging from it .
Kadyma, who noticed it, turned to Ainz and reproved him for it .
「Ainz! What are you doing nya! Stop, stop it nya!」
Like last time, Kadyma tried to seal the magic stone by pushing Ainz’s hand into the box . But this time, instead of the dark knight’s illusory hand coming out of the seal, something else was coming out of it .
『Don’t move . . . . please?』
The voice of the magic stone echoed through the room, so far it was the same as last time . But Kadyma couldn’t move, even though she was in this laboratory where magic was supposed to be useless, she couldn’t move her legs or even her fingers . It was as if her movements had been blocked by magic .
「Wh, why . . . . I can’t move, nya!? Ainz, what the hell are you doing?」
Ainz was surrounded by a somewhat gentle aura . It was a warm, gentle yet receptive one, similar to Olivia’s .
When absorbing a magic stone, Ainz could feel it’s taste, but not this time . Instead, he was enveloped by this warm feeling .
A motherly aura that made him want to cuddle to her, as if she was protecting him .
Ainz kept sucking on it . Like a baby sucking on its mother’s milk, he kept sucking until it’s over .
「Yo-you’re absorbing it nya?! Ainz, you’re absorbing that magic stone nya!? Stop, stop it nya」
「I’ve told you, I’m sorry . Kadyma-san」
Ainz doesn’t listen to any of her restraints and doesn’t stop absorbing . More and more, the magic stone lost its color and became an empty magic stone .
And finally, it’s over .
『Thank you . . . 』
He heard a voice from somewhere, a gentle voice . He did not understand the meaning of it’s “thank you”, but Ainz thought to himself “Thank you too” .
After hearing the voice, Ainz placed the magic stone on the table after absorbing it .
「It’s over, Kadyma-san」
「Huh, is it over . . . . . No nya!」
Kadyma, who is still unable to move her body, seems to have difficulty to speak and she reacts while sweating .
「Aah sorry . . . . Are you fine now?」
「Do you think it’s easy, wha? I can move nya . Ainz, what the hell did you do nya!」
「I don’t know much about it either . But I was taught a few things, so I’m good to go . I’m going now」
A cracking sound, like broken glass, echoed through the lab . Kadyma wondered what the sound was, but she understood when Ainz opened the door without a care in the world . Ainz had broken the seal on this room from the inside . Now she knew that fact .
「A-Ainz, the seal in this room is」
「I’m sorry I broke it . I’ll compensate for it when I get back」
「How did you manage to break it nya . . . . Compensate? What are you talking about nya」
「Because, you know, beast that finally appear every hundred years or so are rare, right? So when I come back, I’ll compensate you with the materials from it . Wait for it」
Seeing Ainz come out of the lab, the knight who was guarding the lab also sat up . That’s probably true, Kadyma had also mentioned it .
The seal in this lab cannot be broken unless it is done by a Demon King or someone close to it .
But Ainz broke it . What kind of magic stone he had absorbed, Kadyma couldn’t understand a single thing about it .
「Here I go then, to the port city of Magna」