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Chapter 97


 The doctor's office, which had been off limits for some time, now had its door open.
 Beyond the door is a room with shelves lined with treatment equipment and a bed.
 
 Fatima, who is now sitting on the bed and had a pale face, looks at the man in front of her who has a knight standing beside him and an unusually stern expression on his face.
 This man smiles at her.
 
「It's been a long time, Fatima-san. I was worried when I heard you were under treatment. But, I'm glad to hear you're feeling better.」
 
「Why are you...? Her Highness...」
 
 Fatima-san said and then choked up because she hadn't made a sound in a long time.
 
「...Her Highness. She'll never be yours no matter what you do.」
 
 Then the man shrugged.
 
**a
「Don't you get it yet? I've never had a woman reject me before. But your Lord has taunted me. Don't you know that? That's why I'm going to make sure she's mine... and I'm not going to let that stop me.」
 
「......」
 
 Fatima kept silent.
 That's when it happened. Alexis and Fransisca entered through the open door.
 
 "Fatima!" Fransisca, whose eyes were shining, ran straight to Fatima and hugged her still frail body without showing any sign of concern for the man who was standing in front of her.
 
「Thanks God. Are you feeling better now? Really, I'm glad...」
 
 Fatima's eyes softened when she saw her Lord who was happy to hear her say so.
 
「...I'm sorry for worrying you, Your Highness...」
 
 Fatima's voice sounded weak.
 It showed that she was still not at her best. But if the door to the doctor's office had been opened, that meant that she must be allright.
 
 Then, she notices that Alexis is speaking to the man in front of her, Jerome, instead of Fransisca.
 
「Aniki. Why are you here?」
 
「Well, I just happened to pass by the door when it opened. The nearby medical officer told me that the princess's maid had just finished her treatment. Since I'm here, I thought I'd congratulate her on her recovery.」
 
「Hmm, I see.」
 
 Alexis nodded and looked at Fatima.
 Fatima is talking with Fransisca with a relaxed expression on her face.
 
(Sara said she feels pity for her...)
 
 But from the looks of things, she seems to be doing OK.
 So, he wonders why Sara said so.
 
 As for Sara, she said, "I'd like to analyze the monster that has been extracted, see you later!" and she left. Before she left, she said, "Her Highness is coming too, you know!".
 
(Is it because she felt unhappy to be face-to-face with my brother? Hmm... I don't know.)
 
 While Alexis was thinking about it, Fatima's eyes suddenly turned toward him and their eyes met.
 
「A-Alex...」
 
 After saying this, Fatima shut her mouth as if she came back to herself.
 Alexis saw that Fatima's pale cheeks were slightly tinted with vermilion, and he understood that she was feeling shy.
 
 "Yeah," says Alexis, raising his hand and walking toward Fatima.
 
「I'm glad to see you're feeling better. Although, I'm afraid you're still a long way from your best.」
 
 At Alexis' words, Fatima's expression softened.
 
**b
「...Yeah. Sara said I shouldn't exercise for a while.」
 
「I see. Well, then the dungeon is still a ways off. I can't push you too hard.」
 
「Hmm... I'm sorry. I'm sorry you had to deal with that.」
 
「Oh, don't worry about it. Rather, you need to get better first, okay?」
 
 Fatima's eyes narrowed and she nodded her head, as if she was touched by Alexis' kind words.
 
「I've prepared a substitute conjuror for you, don't worry about it. Just think about your body first. Do you understand?」
 
「I-I understand...」
 
 Fatima nodded and looked away from Alexis. She was too embarrassed to make eye contact any longer.
 Alexis was still as kind as ever, and Fatima felt her heart beat faster than ever.
 
 Having said that—it is natural for Alexis to take care of those who are not at their best condition.
 He knows that no good will come from pushing them too hard.
 
 "—Oh, right," Alexis suddenly remembers.
 
「Have you met Valencia?」
 
「Eh... Valencia!?」
 
 Fatima was so shocked that she let out a loud cry and coughed.
 After telling her to take it easy, Alexis spoke again.
 
「Yes, Valencia. She is your little sister, isn't she?」
 
「W-Well... that's right. But Valencia ended up in Avalon two years ago...—」
 
「But she's safe. Neige is with her too. If you can walk, would you like to come with us to see her?」
 
 Fransisca smiles and makes a suggestion.
 
「Neige is also.... Ah, I'd love to meet her. Please, let me meet her.」
 
 Her eyes are moist, which is unusual for Fatima.
 It seems... she is very moved to see her old friends, especially her relatives who are safe and sound.
 
「Don't push yourself too hard. Let's go, then.」
 
 Fatima said, "I'm sorry," and then she took the princess's hand and stood up slowly.
 She wobbled, so Alexis supported her body by saying, "You're not safe."
 
「Oh, yess...」
 
 Fatima's cheeks turned red.
 
「Are you okay?」
 
 Alexis asked, and Fatima nodded her head while looking away from him.
 
「A-Alex... T-Thank you...」
 
 Fatima is looking down, but her ears are reddening.
 Alexis blinked his eyes, thinking how bashful he had become after not seeing her for a while.
 
「Oh, um... Can I come back and see you later...?」
 
 Fatima asked as she let go of his hand.
 
**c
「Yes, that's fine. We're not even going to the dungeon today anyway. We'll call it off. Now that you're better, there'll be a lot of people who'll want to see you. Besides, Sara's such a jerk.」
 
 Alexis realized as he said this.
 
「Oh... I haven't told them that we're suspending the meeting yet, have I? That means that the members might be in front of the fort.」
 
「If so, I'll go with Fatima and tell them.」
 
 Fransisca said, and Alexis nodded his head.
 But first, Alexis had one thing to say to her.
 
「...You, Sara called me, so after you drop Fatima off, you'd better get going, wouldn't you?」
 
「Yes, I understand...」
 
 Fransisca seemed to remember what had happened this morning and nodded her head while her cheeks were stained.
 Fatima couldn't help but giggle when she saw the two of them.
 
「Your Highness. Are you... are you still the same?」
 
「...yes, as usual.」
 
 Fransisca affirmed this with a blush on her cheeks, while Fatima smiled at her with a wry smile.
 
 Fatima and Fransisca left the room together.
 As Alexis looked after them, Jerome said to him, "Hey".
 
「Hey, are you giving favors to her vassals?」
 
 Seeing Jerome's mixed expression, Alexis shrugs.
 
「Yeah, why not? I'm not a formal man, so I told him to be.」
 
「Well, it's like you, but in moderation. Don't let them take advantage of you.」
 
 Jerome smiles.
 Alexis felt annoyed by the formalities of the situation, and inwardly he was annoyed by the way he was being treated.
 
「What do you care? You're not my retainer, are you?」
 
「Well, that's true, but you're an odd one. I'm afraid even your vassals would do the same.」
 
 "Well, who knows," Alexis replied, thinking about Dorothea.
 In fact, Jerome's point is not wrong.
 
「Anyway, did you hear that? Avalon's been canceled. What about you, Aniki? Are you going to walk around the fort or talk to the soldiers?」
 
 Jerome chuckles at Alexis' point of view as he folds his hands behind his head.
 
**a
「...Hey, you. Can you stop guessing my schedule?」
 
「Yeah, I have a pretty good idea what's going to happen next. One of the female servants who fell for my brother's facade is going to tell you something. Tsk... I wish I hadn't asked for backup from the home country...」
 
 Jerome's smile deepens at the sight of his brother's brazen tongue lashing out at him.
 
「You know, Father doesn't want you punished this severely either. When all is revealed, why don't you leave this to me and return to Krangal? Father still wants you to be his assistant.」
 
「I won't take on such a troublesome role. I'll go back to being an adventurer as soon as I get back.」
 
「Hey, it's assistant, you know? I don't think it's a bad idea for you either... but I don't know why you're so reluctant. If you're going to be an aide, you might as well be an official, to guarantee your position and your family's future without succession.」
 
「I'm not interested.」
 
 Alexis replied, and then turned back to him.
 
「Well then, you don't need me here anymore, do you? So, I'm going. You can stop talking and get the hell out of here. You're gonna get in the way of the cleanup.
 
「You know what? You're a real pain in the ass...」
 
 Jerome lets out a sigh and Alexis replies, "What the hell?".
 
「...No, nothing.」
 
 Jerome shrugs his shoulders. With that, Alexis leaves.
 All that is left is Jerome and his knight.
 
 The room is quiet, and Jerome opens his mouth.
 
「...Hey, Eden.」
 
 He calls out to the knight who is still standing silently by his side, his face covered by his helmet.
 
「Alexis. He's always been wild, but... But don't you feel like he's changed?」
 
 The knight answered Jerome's question with a small nod.

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Edited Kanaa-senpai.
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