Chapter 121

 After a long and enjoyable bath, Alexis puts back his clothes and armor, and goes to the dining room.
 The artifact "The Mage's Garden Box" does not have a stockpile of food, as expected. However, it is possible to cook food brought in from outside. This is because there is a kitchen and a dining room.
 Therefore, since the introduction of this box garden, it has been customary to cook portable foods brought in from the outside in an easy-to-eat form.
 By their nature, many of the portable foods can be eaten as they are, but since they are all dried to a crisp, it is obvious that they taste much better when cooked.
 Soon enough, without Alexis having a chance to intervene, it was decided who was going to cook the food. It seemed that someone among Sara, Dorothea, and Maria would be the one to prepare the food.
 As for Fransisca's being left out of the cooking duty, it was obvious without asking. To begin with, it seems that the Sagrado people do not like to have their Princess-Maiden work.
 Valencia, however. She was a surprise. She seems to be the most enthusiastic character.
 By the time Alexis arrived at the dining room, it was empty.
 He looked into the kitchen next to the dining room and found Sara alone there, carrying a stepladder and moving around with her petite body.
「Where are the others?」
 Alexis calls out to her, and Sara turns around.
「The others have already finished, Alex-kun, you're coming late!」
 Saying this, Sara goes to the cooking table, gets on the step ladder, and stands in front of the pot on the fire.
「Alex-kun, do you want me to prepare it for you?」
「Yeah, sure. Thanks for your help.」
 Alexis said, and then decided to watch Sara as she prepared the food.
 Looking at Sara's small back as she fills her bowl with soup, Alexis thinks to himself, "That's surprising"
(Sara can prepare something decent to eat. If it were Fatima or Maria, it wouldn't be surprising at all...)
 As he folded my arms and thought about it, he met Sara's eyes as she turned around.
 "...Alex-kun, are you thinking something rude now? Is it surprising that I cook so much?" She guessed it.
 Alexis felt embarrassed, but nodded her head.
「Well... because, you know, I only have an image of you.... making suspicious drugs.」
「You know, Alex-kun. How long do you think I've been alive... I've been living alone for a long time, I've done a lot of cooking. I measure every milligram of food to make sure it fits the recipe.」
「M-Milligram... isn't that a little too precise?」
「What are you talking about, Alex-kun? It would be a disaster if I made a mistake and caused an explosion, wouldn't it?」
「Hey, I don't think the food could explode」
「Well, of course, the food won't explode. But if it does, I don't want it to happen.」
 Sara puts the finished dishes on the plate and carries them to the table.
 It seems that cooking and experimenting are similar for her.
(No wonder Sara's food tastes so consistent...)
 Alexis is sitting at the table thinking so.
 By the way, today's meal consisted of hard bread, cheese, and soup made of dried meat and vegetables.
 By the way, Sara sat down next to Alexis and spoke to him as he started to eat, "Hey, by the way".
「Where's Dorothea?」
「Hmm? She'll be here later.」
「Heh... Did you do it thoroughly again?」
「What do you mean, again?」
 Sara smiles and says, "Because," to Alexis, who retorts.
「Alex-kun is always so intense, isn't he? It must be hard for everyone to deal with you」
「Don't worry about it. No one is uncomfortable with me. Well, it's a result of my technique.」
 Alexis speaks in a high voice while holding a spoon, "Technique, huh?" and Sara can't help but giggle.
 Feeling that there was something in her tone, Alexis asked back.
「What are you thinking?」
「Uh, nothing?」
 Sara still smiles at him and makes a fool of him.
 Alexis is miffed by this.
 He wonders why this guy always acts like she is looking at things from a step or two higher up. Well, maybe it is inevitable, since she seems to be much older.
 But she looks like a little girl. If such a little girl shows him a chuckle, it can't be helped but feel uncomfortable.
「...Hmm? Anyway, didn't you really want to be screwed by me, too?」
 When Alexis asked her, "Huh?" Sara replies.
「You know, you guys were arguing today in front of the bathroom about who would take a bath with me, right? You said you didn't care, but I'm not sure if you really didn't care.」
 Alexis looked at Sara with a wicked smile.
 He asked that because he wanted to upset Sara once in a while. But Sara said.
「Hmm...I wonder?」
 She's still smiling.
「...Hey, you」
 Alexis is miffed, and Sara giggles.
「Fufu, fine, fine. Don't sulk.」
「No, I'm not sulking...」
 But Alexis thought that It's a strange feeling to be treated like a little brother like this.
「—More importantly, you kept Valencia waiting, right? After all, she was looking forward to your praises, so why don't you go over there later?」
 She changed the subject all of sudden.
(This guy...)
 Although Alexis agree with her, continuing this topic is surely futile.
「...Well, I'll go there later.」
 At this, Sara nodded her head saying, "That's a good idea."
「If you have time to take care of an old person like me, you should take care of the young ones.」
 Sara smiles at him, but Alexis was tempted to say, "It sounds sarcastic with your appearance. However, he stopped, instead,
(Well then, I'll go to Valencia's place after lunch...)
 That was what Alexis was thinking.
* * *
 After eating the food, Alexis decided to leave Sara and went to Valencia's room.
 By the way, Sara was planning to stay in the dining room and the kitchen afterwards, because Dorothea and Maria had not completed their meal yet.
 Anyway, Alexis says a brief farewell to Sara, and leaves the dining room.
 He walks down the hallway and goes straight to Valencia's room.
 When he is walking and going about his daily life like this, his armor seems to get in the way. Especially his full-body armor.
 However, he is in a dungeon. In order to be able to respond to the request for support anytime when the enemy attacks, he wears his armor except when he sleeps or takes a bath.
(I really want to go back to my room and sleep as soon as possible)
 But, a promise is a promise.
 It may not seem like much, but Sara says Valencia is looking forward to it, so he can't be indifferent to it.
 Alexis eventually stood in front of the door to the room assigned to Valencia and knocked.
 He waited for a while, but nothing was said.
「She's not here...?」
 As he was thinking this, he saw a woman walking toward him from the end of the corridor.
 She is a shy-looking woman with round glasses, wearing a conjurer's robe and her red-plum colored hair in a big, fluffy braid.
 "...Maria," Alexis muttered to himself as he looked at her.
(She's a difficult person to talk to...)
 As he was thinking so, Maria walked away from Alexis without saying anything and tried to pass by.
「Hey, wait!」
 After a coughing fit, Maria decided to talk to him anyway.
「You were the first guard, weren't you? Did you switch?」
 Maria stopped dead in her tracks. Then she let out a sigh.
 "...Yes," she answered in a muffled voice, without making eye contact.
(She hates me as usual...)
 Alexis think so, but asking her seems to be the quickest way.
「Have you seen Valencia?」
 Maria finally looks up.
 She looks at Alexis suspiciously.
「W-What do you want with Valencia...No way? Is the Prince-sama...?」
 She said in a half retreating tone, and Alexis was flustered.
「No, no, no, I don't have any bad feelings!?」
「...I don't know. Prince-sama... is the kind of person who uses anyone as a prostitute...」
 Maria looks away again.
「Hey, don't talk like that!」
「He really is just like the other Princes. ...Huff」
「...Hey, you just sigh there, right...!」
 While replying to Maria's shrugging shoulders, Alexis sensed a slight change in his heart.
(Hmm? She seems to have lost some of her frightened mood.)
 No, more than that, there was something that bothered him a little.
「...You think I'm just like the other Princes? What an unusual evaluation you have.」
「Am I? I think you're still His Majesty's son, no matter what I see...」
「Is it in a good way? Or is it in a bad way?」
 To Alexis' question, she responded with silence.
 But, Alexis guessed, "...Of course, she is thinking me in a bad way".
「Well, whatever...」
 After a sigh, Alexis decided to start the conversation again.
「So... Do you know where I can find Valencia?」
「What's the Prince-sama going to do now that you know where Valencia is?」
 Alexis was silent.
 Maria also became silent.
「...Enough. I'll ask the others.」
 As Alexis stepped forward, Maria stood in front of him.
 With a fearful and alarmed look in her eyes, she says, "What are you going to do with Valencia?"
 Alexis's mouth tightened.
「You're not going to let me go no matter what?」
 "...I don't trust you, Prince-sama," Maria answered in a whisper.
 Again they fell silent.
 The standoff between the two men seemed to continue for some time.

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Edited Kanaa-senpai.
Thanks for reading.
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