As soon as Alexis left the box garden, he spotted Valencia.
Valencia is standing still by the pillar of light. She is a knight, so she must have gotten used to it.
（I was surprised when I saw Valencia on guard before, because she opened a book even though she was on guard...）
Alexis thinks that although she usually looks like a fool, she is dependable in such an area.
"Alexis-sama," said Valencia, who immediately turned her face toward Alexis and spoke to him.
「Is it time to switch? Is it time for a change?」
「No, I'm here for something. Mine's on night.」
Valencia's eyes widen.
She thought, "Was it so important? After all, he had come all the way to here". Meanwhile, Alexis thought,
（...Well, it's a waste of time if I don't do something good now that I'm here）
Then, he reached out his hand and patted Valencia's head.
「Hwaa!? Wh-What, why!?」
Valencia's cheeks turned reddish in a flash as she said this in a sultry voice.
「See, I promised you that I would praise you, didn't I? Anyway, it's hard to pat you from this distance, so, come a little closer」
Alexis grabbed Valencia's arm and pulled her close to him, patting her head as if he was petting a dog or a cat.
Valencia seemed to be happy, and she couldn't help but break into a smile.
Valencia gives a pleasant smile as she says this.
「...It's really just a personal matter, isn't it? Did you really come all the way here to do that? All the way out here?」
「Yeah. A promise is a promise. Are you dissatisfied?」
Valencia shakes her head and becomes silent for a while.
（Alexis-sama, what a sincere person. Of course, even Her Highness and Ane-sama are sincere about Alexis-sama...）
After thinking that much, Valencia hurriedly moved away from Alexis.
「S-Still, I'm in the middle of my work. I have to concentrate on my work...」
Valencia starts to stand guard again. Alexis was impressed by her seriousness.
「Have you been watching for any sign during the whole time?」
「Yes. ...So, can we talk about the rest later?」
「I see. Even though your Lord has come to you like this...」
Alexis squats down, puts his cheekbone on the floor, and lightly teases Valencia.
Valencia, as expected, looks flustered and turns to Alexis.
「N-No! I didn't mean to disrespect Alexis-sama...!」
「Hmm... By the way, am I your Lord?」
Alexis can't help but smirk. Valencia's ears turned red.
「No... my Lord is...! Ah, geez」
Valencia turns away from the red face and returns to the guard posture.
But her expression remains the same as before, muttering "...Please don't make fun of me, already".
「Haha. I'm sorry, I really don't want to interrupt you, so I'm going to go back.」
Alexis laughed for a moment and Valencia nodded her head.
「Well, see you later.」
「Yes, see you later.」
With that Alexis returned to the box garden.
And as he watched the scenery change, he thought, "Hmm...later?".
* * *
Some time later, Alexis also finished his watch and fell asleep for the second time.
Alexis's eyes were wide open when he heard a knock at the door.
（...Oh, is it time to get up? That's unusual. I didn't think I would be woken up later than the wake-up time...）
However, the sense of time is not really clear in the dungeon. Only the internal clock can be used as a guide.
Anyway, Alexis gets up with a start and replies to someone through the door.
「—Sorry, did I oversleep?」
「Ah, no. That's not the case...—Ah, I'm sorry. Did I wake you up?」
The reply he heard was Valencia's.
「I-I'm sorry. I thought I knocked softly so as not to disturb you if you were sleeping...」
The door slammed open right in front of Valencia's eyes.
Alexis was standing there, wearing only the clothes he had on under his armor.
「You know, I'm woken up by the slightest noise. After all, I've camped out alone many times when I was an adventurer.」
「Oh... I-I didn't realize that. I'm sorry.」
"Well, no problem," Alexis responded as Valencia apologized again.
「I think I'm almost out of sleep anyway... and you're here for something, right? Come in」
Alexis urged, and Valencia nodded as she entered Alexis's room.
Valencia was still wearing her equipment as usual. She is standing straight, her back straight, her lips pursed, and her posture firm. It made Alexis wonder if this girl is not off even though they are in a dungeon.
After closing the door, Alexis went back to the back of the room and sat down on a chair instead of the bed. Valencia said, "I'm sorry".
「After all, you made the trouble for me...」
「No, it's okay. It's no big deal.」
Despite this response, Alexis felt as if he were in a courtroom.
"Just because I opened and closed the door for her, what was the big deal?" Alexis thought.
Regarding Valencia, he would prefer her to be a little more frank.
「Hey, Valencia. There's something I've been meaning to tell you for a long time」
「Y-Yes? Can I help you?」
Alexis says to Valencia, who looks nervous about what he is going to say.
「By all rights, you're not my vassal. And I'm not good at formalities... you can talk to me more normally, without using honorifics」
「Yes, I'm sorry... But you are, after all, the :ord of my Lord. Then I must behave in a respectful manner...」
「Even Fatima speaks to me as if I'm her friend, but you are...」
Alexis couldn't help but sigh.
Valencia blinked at him.
「Well, it certainly seems that Ane-sama does... Though, it was unusual」
「Right? So you don't have to worry about it either. I like it that way」
「I-I understand. If you insist...」
Valencia's gaze drifted restlessly, and she coughed once.
Then, Alexis urged her to go on.
「You came here for something, didn't you? What's going on?」
Valencia looks back at Alexis. Alexis smiles at her and tells her to speak to him in a casual manner.
Valencia's lips were pursed in determination, and then she opened her mouth.
「Oh, um, I... I didn't have anything important to sway...—」
After the strange ending, Valencia became silent even though she seemed to be in the middle of a conversation.
The blush on her cheeks is gradually increasing, and tears are pooling at the corners of her eyes.
Seeing her attitude, Alexis was sure.
「...You bit your tongue, didn't you?」
Valencia's eyes are completely teary.
「A-After all, I'm not used to it! I can't get used to talking to my superior...!」
Seeing Valencia's earnest complaint, Alexis was getting into a lot of trouble.
「Oh...okay, that's enough. You can give up talking to me like that.」
「It's not good to do that!」
「Okay, okay. Please, stop crying.」
Valencia wiped her tears with her arm and opened her mouth to say, "—So, you know...".
「Last time, even though I was on duty, I almost neglected Alexis-sama's kindness... you said we would talk about it later, right? That's why I'm here.」
「Oh, I see. You mean you want me to give you more?」
Valencia's cheeks flushed as she folded her arms and shook her head.
「N-No, it's not that...! I just thought I should apologize for neglecting you. And... and...」
Valencia turns redder and redder.
"And?" Alexis asks.
「...I really want it, a reward. C-Could Alexis-sama give me... well, a reward or anything... ah, you know...?」
Alexis looks at Valencia, and Valencia squeezes the pleated skirt that is peeking out from the hem of her armor.
「I-I want you to do something like you did before... to me. I-I mean, lately, you haven't been doing that at all... So, please do something naughty with me, like you used to...」
Valencia then turns her head down to hide her face, which has turned the reddest shade of red.
Alexis' eyes were wide open, not expecting her to say such a thing herself.
It was probably because he had been inadvertently silent for a while.
However, Valencia seemed to take it badly and gradually started to cry again.
「Oh...I-I'm sorry. I'm sorry, it's not pleasant, is it? Suddenly, like this...」
She then backed up a few steps.
「P-Please forgive. I shouldn't have said those things...」
Immediately, Alexis shook his head in panic.
「No, it's not that. I was just surprised. Come here.」
Alexis stood up and pulled Valencia's arm, taking her toward the bed.
「Anyway, there's still time—」
Alexis looks at Valencia who is still lying on the bed.
「So, I'll give you a reward. We'll do it until it's time to go. But only as long as it doesn't interfere with the attack, okay?」
「I-I understand, Alexis-sama...」
Valencia nodded her head again and again, her eyes moistening.
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