After three days of persistent exploration, they decided that there were too many aspects of the dungeon that were different from the previous one, and that they needed to reorganize their operations.
And so, the group returned to Fort Rohka.
「Pleased to meet you. Alexis Sheridan Krangal-sama!」
Someone greeted them.
It was the first time Alexis had ever seen a man who appeared—for all intents and purposes—to be a giant.
He was well over two meters tall. His muscles were bulging like a wall, and his shaggy gray hair and thick eyebrows gave the impression of a bandit.
He had old scars all over his flabby arms and cheeks, and if he weren't dressed in a tank top, half pants, and sandals, he could easily be mistaken for a warrior of some sort.
「—Wow. It's big.」
Fransisca grabbed Alexis' arm tightly.
「W... Who are you?」
Alexis also gulps.
However, the giant in front of him laughs openly despite his violent appearance. However, his voice was very loud and booming.
「Oh. Well, well, I'm sorry. I completely forgot to introduce myself...! My name is—」
That's when he said.
One of Alexis's member jumps into the giant with her whole body and her eyes shining brightly.
When the giant catches her, she looks like a child, even though she is the height of an average adult woman.
"Hahaha! Dorothea!" the giant calls out the name of the woman who jumps into him.
「Grandpa, it's been a long time!」
Dorothea squints her cat-like eyes and smiles a girlish smile at the giant - or rather, at her grandfather.
The members present were shouting in unison.
Dorothea turned around and nodded her head with a nonchalant expression.
「Yes, that's right. This man is my grandpa, and his name is—」
「Vincent Penfold, Prince-dono!」
His roaring voice sounds as if he is shouting.
「Y-Yeah. Pleased to meet you...」
Alexis responded with a stunned look on his face.
Then the giant—Vincent, Dorothea's grandfather—laughed again.
「Thank you for taking such good care of Dorothea...!」
「Well, sorry for my granddaughter! She's a bit of a wild horse...」
"Hahaha, grandpa, are you talking about that again?" Dorothea is smiling beside the giant.
「But to me, you're my granddaughter, whom I will never anyone to hurt you! Any bad bug that comes near you, I'll do this to them!」
The giant swings his arm and clenches his huge palm, which could easily destroy a skull.
「I'm going to crush it like this! Hahahaha!」
Gazes were directed at the exclaiming Alexis from all sides. They were mainly from those who knew what Alexis was about—Fransisca, Sara, Valencia, and the other soldiers standing guard.
They looked at him with pity and said, "Hey, wait... stop... Don't look at me like that...!" Alexis complains in his mind. " Alexis complains in his mind. But of course, his voice doesn't reach the people around him.
「Of course, Prince-dono, if you do anything strange to my daughter...」
Alexis trembled helplessly as the giant leaned in close to his face.
「What? What will happen...?」
Alexis' gaze drifted to the giant as he replied with a single word.
He then seems to have sensed something, but the giant shrugs his eyes.
At this, Alexis gulps.
Then, he thought, "No way... this giant. No way! He'll kill me...".
「Ahaha, what are you talking about?」
Suddenly, a voice is coming from out of the blue. It was Dorothea.
「Why would the prince do such a thing?」
「Hmm? Well... that's true...」
The giant moves away from his proximity, and Alexis pats his chest in relief.
「I'm your granddaughter, after all. A man like a prince wouldn't have a woman with a bad upbringing like me.」
Dorothea's words must have convinced the giant.
「...Hmm, I'm certainly not saying that your upbringing was good... But you know what? Dorothea, I think you're cute.」
「You said it again... Is this what you call parental greed?」
Seeing the exchange between Dorothea, who smiles openly, and the giant, whose shoulders are slumped, Alexis deeply agrees with her.
（I see... That's how she could have remained a virgin in spite of being in an all-male environment...）
Even Alexis would not have been so easy to get his hands on if he knew that she was backed by such a fearsome giant.
「Okay, I have heard of your return and wish to greet you at once!」
Vincent, the giant, speaks to everyone in a roaring voice in a friendly manner.
Alexis nodded as he regained his composure.
「Yes, I hear you're an excellent blacksmith. I'm looking forward to working with you.」
「Of course! Please leave your weapons with me immediately. I'll take good care of it for you!」
「Yeah. I'll bring it to the workshop later.」
Vincent nodded as he heard Alexis' words.
「I'll be waiting for you. Now, if you'll excuse me!」
Vincent turned to leave with these words, but was followed by Dorothea who said, "I-I'm going to the workshop too!".
However, Alexis quickly grabbed Dorothea's arm to hold her back.
「Ah, yes, Dorothea—」
"What's the matter?" Dorothea turned around, but at the same time, the giant turned around and gave Alexis a shushing look.
Alexis spoke panickly and, after a cough, regained his composure and whispered.
「Ah, well, thank you. For covering for me...」
Dorothea looks somewhat itchy and embarrassed while saying that.
「Well, it's normal, everyone afraid of him. After all, Grandpa is the kind of person who bends iron bars to put in the melting furnace with his bare hands... Even the prince probably won't be safe...」
Alexis paled when he heard Dorothea's awkward, hushed voice.
「...Well, even if you are the worst perverted idiot prince, it would be worse than being dead, wouldn't it? And It would be a bad wake-up call to have my grandpa as a murderer.」
What followed was a line filled with malice, which made Alexis feel even more out of place.
「H-Hey... are you still bending the navel?」
「Bending the navel, it's not that easy, you know?」
Dorothea looked at Alexis with cold eyes and an embarrassed look on her face, and immediately lifted her mouth in a smile.
「...Well, if you've learned your lesson from this, promise me you'll treat me a little better, "Idiot Prince Idiot"?」
Hearing the somewhat softer way of calling him, Alexis gave a small groan.
「Ugh...ah, yes. I'll take care of it...」
Hearing Alexis' reply, Dorothea nodded her head in satisfaction and turned to run toward her grandfather.
「What were you discussing with the prince-dono?」
「Eh, it's a secret!」
Seeing his granddaughter leaving with these words, Alexis felt relieved.
「Really... I've seen something amazing. Is he really related to her?」
No matter how they look, they don't seem to be related to each other in any way, whether it's their physique or facial features.
Then, Fransisca and Valencia spoke to Alexis from both sides.
"I'm glad you're okay, Alexis-sama," said Fransisca.
"It's not good to be so careless after all. It's possible that something like that could happen, so you should leave the Sagrado people alone!" said Valencia.
「...If you could get a little tougher by being told like that, you wouldn't be in this situation in the first place...」
This was Sara's opinion as she looked at Alexis from a distance.
「Haah... that's true.」
Fransisca's sighing attitude makes Alexis irritated.
「You know... I'm telling you, you're the only one I've willingly taken as a slave. The rest of the time, it just happened, okay?」
「Is that so?」
Looking at Fransisca's eyes blinking in surprise, Alexis felt like letting out a sigh.
「That's right! Damn... you guys always act like I'm some kind of a villain. I've told you again and again that I'm not a common royalty, okay?」
「Alexis-sama... I've learned that in the last few days, with Sagrado's perception, you are playing too much, aren't you?」
Alexis thought that Valencia was a fool, but she made good points at every point.
「I don't know anything about foreign cultures... Really, I'm tired and I'm going to bed!」
Alexis leaves the carriage with a nearby soldier and quickly leaves the place as if to run away.
「Ah, Alexis-sama escaped!」
Valencia's lips twitched in frustration, then she said "Hey, don't you think so, Your Highness?" and she turns to Fransisca to get her agreement.
Fransisca, however, was not offended but rather her face was smiling.
「Fufu. I'm the only one he willingly made a slave of...」
Valencia was startled when she accidentally overheard Fransisca's happy muttering.
「What... is that supposed to make you happy...!?」
「...Valencia-chan. Leave her alone about that, okay? You know, Her Highness, it's already too late for many things... so many things.」
Sara muttered in a fading voice.
Valencia looked puzzled, "What do you mean?".
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