Magi Craft Meister 485
14 Family Trip Arc
14-36 The Klein Kingdom And The Hot-Air Balloon
“What’s that? Jin is bringing a what? A ‘hot-air balloon’, you say?”
During the scheduled call on the afternoon of July 27, the Shouro Empire informed the two kingdoms of Klein and Egelia about the gift received from Jin named “hot-air balloon”.
At the same time, the two kingdoms also received the news about the demons, which matched with what Makina had informed them about in his letters, which made their leaders grow nervous.
However, the kingdoms of Klein and Egelia were far away from demon territory, so their degree of nervousness was greatly different.
＊ ＊ ＊
At 10 AM of July 29, in Alban, capital city of the Klein Kingdom…
“Oh, here he comes!”
“Whoa, Jin and the others are really all the way up there.”
“It’s been a long time…”
A large number of Royal Guard Knights, Prime Minister Powell, Princess Lieschen, Prince Ernest of the Egelia Kingdom, and Lithia’s father, Nicklaus Farheight, were all waiting for Jin to arrive in the square in front of the Royal Castle.
Prince Ernest was visiting the Klein Kingdom to spend some time with Princess Lieschen.
Nicklaus was there as well because he was one of the people who had seen the Unifier’s “flying balloons” during the battle in Tetrada.
As they stood there watching, the hot-air balloon on which Jin was riding landed in the center of the square. Only Jin and Reiko had come this time around. This was because there was a lot of luggage.
Also, Elsa stayed in the Shouro Empire because she wanted to visit her family.
The first one to rush towards him was Prince Ernest. Princess Lieschen followed right after him.
Those of the Royal Guard Knights who had never had direct contact with Jin before seemed confused, but those who knew him, such as Glenn Dabrode, the leader of the Royal Guard Knights, and the young knight Heintz Lash, were able to keep their cool.
As Jin bowed at the two who rushed to greet him…
“It certainly has been a long time, Your Highness Prince Ernest, Your Highness Princess Lieschen.”
“Long time no see, Jin. …Why so formal?”
“Right! Like Lord Ernest said, that was a bit too stiff, don’t you think?”
“Thank you. Then…”
Jin cleared his throat, then…
“Long time no see, Your Highnesses.”
…he amended his greeting with a smile.
“Lord Jin, nay, Magi Craft Meister Sir Jin Nidou, welcome to the Klein Kingdom.”
Prime Minister Powell walked up to Jin and presented him with a silver platter.
“This is a certificate that grants you free entry and exit rights to our country. Like the one issued to you by the Shouro Empire, this allows you to take 10 people to accompany you across our borders.”
“Thank you very much.”
Jin humbly bowed as he accepted the document on the platter.
“Well then, let’s jump right to business… I’ll be teaching you how to use this hot-air balloon.”
Jin began by explaining how it was made, and then moved onto how to operate it.
Incidentally, the air sacs in these hot-air balloons weren’t made of sandworm leather, but of dragonic eel hide.
Jin had chosen this material instead for this one since that monster was easier to find in the Klein Kingdom, and so its hide was easier to procure.
After giving a general explanation and taking both Prime Minister Powell and Nicklaus along, the hot-air balloon took to the skies.
“Ohoho, this is quite pleasant!”
“No wonder the Unifiers were immersed in such a sense of superiority.”
“These are meant to help us against the demons. Please don’t use them to solve disputes between fellow men.”
Jin once again stated that he did not want the hot-air balloons to be used during human conflicts.
Of course, Jin understood what Nicklaus was trying to say. Most of their current technology could be used as they were in order to gain a military advantage against one’s enemy.
“Yes, I understand that. I still vividly remember Lord Deus Ex Machina’s words and the mysterious power he wielded.”
Nicklaus, who had been at the Tetrada front line, had experienced first-hand the futility of the war.
Jin had no choice but to believe in the people’s reasoning and innate goodness.
“…By all rights, you should have already been appointed Honorary Knight by His Majesty the King. I’d like to offer my most sincere apologies for the delay.”
After arriving at the reception office, the prime minister bowed apologetically.
The Honorary Knight title issued in the Shouro Empire only required an official notice, but in the Klein Kingdom, an formal appointment was necessary.
“His Majesty’s condition has worsened, and so he is resting in his chambers.”
“My father has also been a rather frail person. I’m very worried about him.”
Princess Lieschen, who was also there with them, had a deeply troubled expression on her face.
“Since Lord Ernest was so kind to come visit us, I figured I would be able to indulge in a bit of filial piety.”
It would have also been reassuring for the bedridden king to learn of his youngest daughter’s betrothal.
Jin implicitly asked if he could meet the king, but the prime minister said that only the royal family, aides, and court physicians were allowed into his room.
(Oh well, guess it can’t be helped.)
Since Jin didn’t know the symptoms, there was no way to guarantee that the king could be cured from whatever that was ailing him, and there was no way he could conduct a medical examination on the king even if he were to force his way into His Majesty’s chambers.
Jin then shared with the prime minister and Princess Rischen as much as he knew about the demons.
“…Hmm, I understand. Some time ago, Gloria Ohlstat came back with nine soldiers, but according to Lord Makina’s report, she had been attacked by one of those demons. Also, the other day, Lord Makina eradicated a swarm of giant centipedes…”
After saying that, the prime minister hurriedly bowed down and apologized once more.
“Lord Jin! I deeply apologize for the inconvenience!”
Of course, the prime minister was talking about the Inad Mine. He had already received his apologies through Lithia, but he still extended them to Jin once more.
“We shouldn’t have given you an abandoned mine in such a state. Therefore, more than offering you a regular Honorary Knight title, we believe it would be more appropriate to bestow upon you the title of Honorary Knight of the 1st Order. Is that okay with you?”
“Yes, thank you very much.”
After thinking a little, Jin figured that turning down a title here while he had accepted a similar one in the Shouro Empire would cause great offense to the Klein Kingdom, so he decided to accept the prime minister’s offer.
Being part of the aristocracy was often convenient in this world. Jin had been feeling that was the case, especially as of late. Still, he planned to reveal his position as a knight only when necessary.
“Now, Sir Jin, about having Prince Ernest take one of your ‘hot-air balloons’ to the Egelia Kingdom, I’ve received a reply a little while ago stating that they agree with that.”
“Oh, that’s great.”
Jin had intended to take this opportunity to visit the Egelia Kingdom, and believed that taking Prince Ernest back with him would serve as a good demonstration.
The empress of the Shouro Empire and the leaders of the league of small countries were aware that the prime minister of the Klein Kingdom had taken a ride on Jin’s hot-air balloon, and so they had made an approach about the matter during their scheduled call over the Mana Phone.
As a result, the royal family of the Egelia Kingdom approved of Prince Ernest returning to the capital of Asunt via the same hot-air balloons.
Needless to say, Prince Ernest also personally requested the same thing from Jin as well.
＊ ＊ ＊
Then, the next day, August 1st, at 7 AM…
After assembling the other two hot-air balloons they had brought with them to the Klein Kingdom, Jin and Reiko were to be boarding separate gondolas.
Reiko seemed a bit dismayed by this, but Jin had gently stroked her hair and told her that there was nothing for her to worry about.
Naturally, they had a lightweight-inscribed Magi Crystal with them, and Falcon and the others were escorting them from a distance.
“Jin, let’s have a nice chat again sometime. …Lord Ernest, goodbye for now.”
Lieschen seemed saddened as she saw them off.
“See you again sometime, Your Highness Princess Lieschen.”
“…Lies, next time I’ll be the one to come snatch you!”
“Ah, Lord Ernest…”
Princess Lieschen turned bright red to the clear words of Prince Ernest.
“So, Sir Jin Nidou, we leave Your Highness in your care.”
After acknowledging Prime Minister Powell’s words, Jin boarded his own gondola.
“Roger. Well then, let us depart.”
Jin and Reiko each operated their own hot-air balloons.
As the two hot-air balloons slowly began to rise, Princess Lieschen vigorously waved at them.
Jin, Prince Ernest, and his personal golem, Lotte, were on one of the balloons, and Reiko was joined by the maid Laila on the other balloon.
“Ah, being up here in the sky sure feels nice! I’ll be sure to ask Father to have one of these hot-air balloon things made for my personal use.”
Looking up at the clear sky and watching over the vast land, Prince Ernest seemed to be in a good mood.
“And you’re really something else, Jin. I hope we can keep being friends forever.”
“Of course, Your Highness.”
“Yes, I’m sure you’re the type of person who remains a friend as long as the other party doesn’t betray him, huh? In that case, I’ll continue to be someone who can live up to that trust.”
Had that been royal intuition, or had it been Prince Ernest’s innate talent? Either way, his words indicated that he had seen completely through Jin’s true spirit.
To Jin, “fidelity” was a very important thing. Living up to people’s expectations and never betraying someone’s trust was a big part of Jin’s creed. And as long as people were faithful and sincere with him, Jin would respond with the same faithfulness and sincerity.
“Your Highness, you seem to be on very good terms with Princess Lieschen, aren’t you?”
“Yeah, I had been wondering what kind of person she was, but she’s a really nice girl.”
From the point of view of a member of the royal family such as himself, Prince Ernest had no hope of a free romantic life. But the red thread of fate seemed to have already made its decision.
Jin, who was also a good friend of Princess Lieschen, couldn’t help but feel like wishing all the best for the future of those two.
The road ahead was clear of any clouds.
“Your Highness, let me show you a little secret.”
“Oh, a little secret, you say?”
“Yes. A little secret that will make this hot-air balloon fly faster.”
Grinning, Jin unleashed a spell.
It was one of the more superior wind-based spells of the elementary level. It was basically a windbreak. It also served as a means to prevent components in outdoor construction sites from being blown away by the wind.
It also had another hidden effect.
The hot-air balloon accelerated with a whoosh. Seeing that, Reiko also used ‘Wind Barrier’ in order to catch up with Jin.
This Engineering Magic spell was able to block the wind, in other words, it could block the flow of air, with an added side effect of reducing air resistance.
The hot-air balloon more than doubled its speed in the blink of an eye. It was moving at nearly 60 km/h.
The distance from Alban, the capital of the Klein Kingdom, to Asunt, the capital of the Egelia Kingdom, was approximately 260 km. So it could be said that they would be able to arrive in less than four and a half hours at that speed.
“Whoa, it’s about as fast as your previous airship.”
Prince Ernest was the one frolicking like a child this time around.