For the time being, while feeding food brought in from outside the dungeon to Valencia and Neige the cat, they asked Valencia about the circumstances that had led up to this point.
「People who were swallowed by Avalon seem to have been teleported to different places at that time」
After drinking water and chewing a cookie, Valencia looked more firm than before and began to tell Fransisca what had happened.
「I think you must have noticed it when you saw the castle, Your Highness. I think that the castle, or even the village and the town, have not made it to the same place in one unit. I don't know what is happening to the others. After all, I have no way to contact them. But I...」
Valencia looks Fransisca in the eye and says firmly, "I have a duty as a guardian of the treasury".
「I believe that one day I will meet Her Highness and I will be able to give her the artifact from the treasury. Until this day, I have been guarding it. Fortunately, I had my cat Neige with me in the castle, so I wasn't lonely... *Sob*. B-Because I had a mission... *Sob* *Sniff*. I, I'm...」
Valencia finally began to cry, tears welling up in her eyes.
「*Sniff*, ueee.... Your Highness! Are you really Your Highness?! I did it, didn't I?」
Valencia looked as if she was about to cry, and Fransisca nodded repeatedly.
「Yes, you did it. I am definitely the first princess of Sagrado, Fransisca Arias Sagrado.」
「*Sob*... uwaaaaaa! *Sniff* ueeeee! I really, really did it! Uwaaaaaa!」
Seeing Valencia's face soaked with tears as she began to sob, Alexis blinked.
「...She is a very crybaby knight...」
"...Valencia-chan is, well, you know?" Sara, who was standing beside Alexis, muttered with a wry smile.
「I don't know. I don't care.」
Alexis couldn't help but respond.
「—But more than that...」
Alexis had something else on his mind. It was beyond the tightly closed metal door.
Alexis walked toward the door and tapped it with the back of his hand to make sure it was still solid.
「Now you're telling me... there's an artifact beyond this door that was kept by Sagrado Kingdom?」
Alexis turns to Fransisca for confirmation.
「Yes, that's right. ...But there are six treasure rooms in the castle. Not all of them are in here, though...」
「Okay, let's open it.」
「Let's take the artifact with us. Maybe it will help us in the dungeon?」
He was really expecting to find a Cup of Dispel in the treasury.
But Alexis had a point too. There is no need to waste time by leaving the dungeon with nothing.
"Yes," Fransisca nodded and walked to the door.
「Valencia, the key.」
Fransisca holds out her hand, and Valencia wipes away a tear and nods.
She then walked toward her Lord and handed Fransisca the golden key that hung on her waist.
Fransisca's hand snapped the key into the keyhole.
And the door in front of them slowly opened to reveal the whole picture.
It was a dark, unlit private room.
Valencia must have been very careful not to open this door even once before. To this extent, the room seems to have retained its former appearance.
The walls and floor are in pristine condition, and metal boxes are neatly lined up. Not even the decorative tapestry on the wall depicting the national emblem of Sagrado Kingdom is scratched.
—No, there is one thing that is clearly out of place.
Only one of the four walls of the castle is not made of stone, but the stone wall of Avalon with the crystal growing out of it that Alexis and the others have seen so many times in the previous areas.
And the depth of the treasure room is only about one tatami mat, and half of the several metal boxes are buried in the wall of Avalon.
Valencia had not expected this sight.
She looked at it with a stunned expression.
"What kind of situation is this?" Alexis guessed, but decided to ask Valencia just in case.
「—Is this room originally built like this?」
Valencia gulps and shakes her head.
「No, it's not this small. T-The walls are like the others... and the treasure chests weren't buried in the walls!」
「...You were moved to another place. Didn't you say that?」
Alexis' words brought a look of surprise to Valencia's face.
「N-No way. Does that mean that the contents of the treasury have been moved to pieces too?」
Valencia's eyes begin to water. It seems that she is about to cry again.
Alexis let out a sigh, thinking that it would be troublesome if she cried.
「...It's okay. Some things are safe. Let's just take them and go back to the fort.」
In response to Alexis' suggestion, "That's a good idea. I agree," Fransisca replied.
So, they decided to return.
* * *
The recovered artifacts are placed in Dorothea's sack, and the party of five, plus Valencia and Neige the cat, are once again on the carriage.
When Valencia stepped out of the dungeon, she first looked up at the sky with a blank expression on her face.
「—The sky, it's blue.」
That was Valencia's first comment.
Then she spots the soldiers around her for defense and shouts.
「There are people! There are so many!」
Valencia seems to be more excited than depressed by the sight of the outside world that she has not seen in a long time.
「...I see. Her Highness have done so much for us.」
Fransisca's eyes narrowed as she saw Valencia's complicated expression, a mixture of joy and confusion.
「...The current situation is largely due to Alexis-sama. This army is all his. But it is my pleasure to see you happy in the sky for the first time in a long time. I am sure Fatima will be happy to know that you are alive.」
「Eh... is my sister here!?」
Valencia's eyes twinkled and Fransisca nodded "Yes".
Then, she added, "...although it may be another week before you can actually see her..."
「I see. My sister...」
Valencia's eyes were moistening.
「Then let's get the hell out of here. Your name is Valencia, right? Don't you want to get a good night's sleep in a proper bed?」
Alexis says, and Valencia starts crying again.
「Euuu—No way! I can rest in bed!? I never thought that day would come... uu, uu, fueeeee!」
「Hey! Don't cry. Don't cry!」
Alexis panicked and worried about his surroundings.
Sure enough, the soldiers were glancing at him from afar to see what was going on.
「—Oh my god! Anyway, let's hurry up and go back」
Whether it was the stares or Valencia crying in front of her, Alexis felt uncomfortable.
So Alexis decides to move the carriage as soon as he has rushed the girls.
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Thanks for reading.
Thanks for reading.