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Chapter 101


 Fransisca went to the command center and was alone, flipping through a list of names.
 
 "Hmm...," she says, tilting her head.
 
「I don't see any guardian that would fit the bill. As Alexis-sama said, I guess we'll have to take a day off today...」
 
 However, there is a possibility that there are other survivors, considering the presence of Valencia. Therefore, she wanted to go to the dungeon if she could.
 Besides—the thing that was transferred to Avalon was lying directly on the ground. That means...
 
(...Alexis-sama's guess that we have entered the next phase must not be wrong. I'm sure I've heard about that place from my grandfather before...—)
 
 It was then.
 She heard a knock at the door, and Fransisca replied "Yes".
 
**a
「Okay, excuse me.」
 
 With that, Alexis' brother, Jérôme, entered the room.
 At his side, as usual, stood a silent knight, his face hidden by a helmet.
 
 He looks so different from Alexis that it is hard to believe that they are brothers.
 He bows reverently and walks toward Fransisca, which makes her unconsciously tense up.
 
「...Good morning, Jerome-sama. How are you?」
 
 Fransisca asked. Jerome stopped in front of her desk.
 
「Well, I just ran into Alexis. He said he was going to hold the fort for a while. And I heard that the Guardian is gone?」
 
「Yes... I was just now looking for a replacement.」
 
 Fransisca nodded and said so. Then, Jerome said with a smile, pointing his hand toward his knight, "Oh, I see. In that case,"
 
「Would you like to take Eden with you? This person will be a good guardian.」
 
 "Eden?" Fransisca rolled her eyes.
 
「Yes. Eden Empery, my proud Kingsguard, even if it's a little too quiet for my taste. Here, say hello.」
 
 At Jerome's urging, the knight finally speaks up.
 
「...Eden Empery. Nice to meet you...」
 
 The soprano's voice through the helmet of his helmet, which was only blunt and minimal.
 It was the first knight's voice Fransisca had ever heard.
 
「...Was it a woman?」
 
 That was the first question Fransisca asked in her dazed state.
 The knight Eden nodded her head with a metallic click.
 
「What do you think? I think it will be useful.」
 
 At Jerome's suggestion, Fransisca stared into the same color eyes as Alexis' for a while.
 
**b
「...To be honest, I don't want to owe you too much...」
 
 Fransisca said in a low voice, but....
 She turns her attention back to Eden.
 
「—Certainly, you are the Kingsguard of Krangal. I'm sure you can be trusted in your abilities.」
 
「I see. I'm glad to hear that. Then, let me lend you a hand.」
 
 After nodding at Jerome's words, Fransisca stood up from the chair she was sitting in and said, "Thank you, Eden-san".
 
「......」
 
 Eden silently indicated her agreement by assuming a saluting posture.
 
「Ah. But...—」
 
 Fransisca suddenly remembered.
 Alexis had not been very eager to tell Jerome about the dungeon. If Eden was going to accompany her, she might have to take Jerome with her. For a moment, she thought about that.
 
 "Oh, I don't go," Jerome said lightly raising his hand before Fransisca could say anything.
 
「You don't need an attacker. I was just advised by my brother.」
 
 Jérôme smiles at her.
 I see. Fransisca nodded her head, thinking that Alexis must have nailed him beforehand.
 
「I see. If Alexis-sama says so, I would appreciate it if you would follow it.」
 
「Is that your policy?」
 
 Jerome felt a little uncomfortable and asked this question without thinking, to which Fransisca nodded her head.
 
「Yes. That's right. Now this fort and we belong to him. Now that you are here, Jerome-sama, you will obey him. Even if he is your brother...—」
 
 Hearing Fransisca's words, Jerome felt more and more uncomfortable.
 He shrugged his shoulders.
 
「As usual, you are a very disciplined person... but I didn't expect you to accept my father's order so readily... After all, you seem to be more stubborn when Sagrado is involved.」
 
 Fransisca was at a loss for a reply when she realized that this might be a reference to the order she had originally received from King Krangal in his letter to appoint Alexis as captain over Alex Rain.
 Certainly, she would not have readily accepted what was written in the letter if she had no particular reason to do so.
 After all, she had rejected the offer of engagement to Prince Krangal, saying that she wanted to do it by herself, and she had pushed her will through by accepting and fulfilling the king's conditions.
 
 As she thinks about this, Jerome continues.
 
「Surely, there is a history of progress in the capture after we sent him there. However—I'm talking about you. I thought you would come up with new conditions.」
 
 Jerome continues.
 Indeed, that is true. He is not far off the mark.
 
**c
「Alexis-sama... He is...—」
 
 Fransisca's eyes drift for a moment, wondering what to say. But she knew that Jerome would not be convinced by any deception, so she thought that she would eventually be able to tell him enough to keep him out of trouble... and she did.
 
「...To me, he's a special person.」
 
「......」
 
 Jerome's eyes widen in surprise.
 He looks at Fransisca, and Fransisca continues, "...that's why".
 
「...You must do as he wishes, Jérôme-sama. That is my intention.」
 
「I see.」
 
 Jerome gave a chuckle.
 Fransisca doesn't know what he's thinking. But she did not let her guard down.
 
「...But he was talking about the missing Guardian. And he didn't say that Eden should not be taken.」
 
 Hearing Jerome's words, Fransisca nodded, thinking that she was right.
 
「Then please take my knight with you. I'm worried about you too. For your own safety. Even if it's a bit of a stretch, you're a woman I've liked in the past.」
 
 Jerome smiles at her while saying these words.
 
「Oh, about that...」
 
 Fransisca was puzzled, but eventually nodded.
 
**a
「...Indeed, I would be very grateful if you could substitute for me. Then, may I borrow your knight?」
 
「Yes. Please, feel free to use her.」
 
 Jerome said with a smile.
 Fransisca nodded and called out to Eden again.
 
「Let's go.」
 
 Eden nodded and accompanied Fransisca as they left the command center.

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Edited Kanaa-senpai.
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