「First of all, I have to report aniki's transformation into a monster. I will send a message immediately to my home country.」
Alexis told Fransisca, who was following behind him, as he strode down the corridor before leaving his armor and weapons behind.
"Yes, I understand," Fransisca responds.
「And we'll have to do something about that coward.」
Alexis continued, and Fransisca looked puzzled.
"—Oh, I mean Eden," Alexis nodded.
「...I'll definitely bring Eden back next time. And let's get this settled.」
Fransisca blinked, and then couldn't help but smile.
「...You're very kind, Alexis-sama.」
Alexis turned around to look at her. But she still smiled, "You're very kind, very kind."
「What are you talking about...」
What a weird guy... Alexis thought.
* * *
Anyway, Alexis finally decided to go to drop off his weapons and armor after asking the messenger to take care of it.
Now, as he was walking alone down the corridor, he ran into Eden.
Eden was still wearing full body armor and carrying a bag of stuff, so he asked her, "Where are you going?".
Eden stopped and, without looking at Alexis, blurted out, "...I'm coming back".
Eden looked back at Alexis.
In her mind, he was someone she did not like. Even though he was the brother of the master whom she admired so much, she disliked him. But now... it was hard to hate him.
After all, when Jerome went to the dungeon, he helped her. He searched for him desperately. And in truth, they are not brothers who quarrel with each other. Knowing this, Eden could not help but to not hate Alexis.
「...Master has gone. If master is not here...」
She responded in a muffled voice.
Then Alexis said.
「I am the master of this fortress. And I did not give you permission to return」
Eden stared at Alexis. She almost sighed.
She thought to herself, "He's so selfish and arrogant, and in the end, that's all he is".
While she was thinking that, Alexis said to her.
「Are you going to do nothing? Are you just going to leave? Are you going to leave my brother who is still wandering around the dungeon?」
「Is that what you want? Are you satisfied with that? Is that good enough for you?」
「...It's not okay...!」
Eden shouts out.
「It's not okay...! But Master...! Master is...」
Eden crumples to her knees.
Behind her armet, which she wears deeply, she bursts into tears.
She bites her lip and stifles her voice. And Alexis tells Eden.
「...Indeed, that's not aniki anymore. Now that he's gone, he's nothing more than the thing that used to be him. But it's still there. The soul that was my brother... it must be there in that monster's abyss! Then—」
Alexis clenches his fists. Then, he continued.
「We will mourn him. With our own hands! Do you think it's aniki's desire to remain such an ugly, horrid monster? Let's release him! We're going to save him from that stupid eternal life...!」
Eden was silent.
However, Alexis could understand her feelings from the way her fingers covered by the gauntlet on the floor tightened their grip.
"Let's do it, Eden," Alexis said.
Eden kept her fingers on the floor and remained silent.
「Let's do it again together, Eden!」
Then, after a moment.
Eden responded in a quiet voice.
「I'm going. I will... this time. I'll be a knight worthy of my master, and I'll settle this...!」
「Yes, that's the way it's going to be!" Alexis smiled at him.
* * *
At that time, there was a man sitting cross-legged on a thick branch of one of the trees in the forest behind the fort, sitting quietly with his eyes closed as if in meditation.
It was Lorenzo.
「...Hey, what are you doing?」
It was Dorothea who looked up at Lorenzo and called out to him.
Dorothea was just on her way into the forest to gather wood for the fireplace.
Lorenzo opened his eyes and spoke as if he were talking to himself.
「This battle has made me realize my lack of training .... It seems that I, myself, still have more training to do.」
"Still, are those horns OK? They've been sticking in there for a long time, but don't they hurt?" Dorothea thinks about that.
Lorenzo stands up easily, while Dorothea is still thinking about it.
「I'm going on another training trip... You take care of the rest, Dorothea... Please lead the party to the end of the dungeon at any cost...」
"Hey, isn't that what an engineer is supposed to do?".
While Dorothea was thinking so, Lorenzo left like a man leaping through the trees.
（His physical ability... he is not an engineer in the first place...）
Dorothea watched Lorenzo disappear with this thought, when she suddenly noticed that something fell down at her feet. It seemed that Lorenzo had left something behind.
It was—two thick curly horns. No doubt those were the ones that had grown on his head.
Dorothea picks up the horns and looks again in the direction Lorenzo left.
（Is it that kind of season...?）
She thought so, but still....
Dorothea had something to say, though.
「Sagrado people are so strange...」
That's what she thought to herself.
Not only Lorenzo, but Sara is also strange. The princess is also strange if she takes a closer look. And Valencia is a bit of a brat, and if she had to say so, Fatima-san is the most reasonable one...?
「Prince, I wonder if he's okay...」
Dorothea was worried in a strange way.
* * *
After that, she took Lorenzo's horn to Alexis in the command center, but as soon as Sara, who happened to be nearby her, saw it, her eyes lit up and she said, "Let me study it!" and she took it away from her.
「Hey Sara, what will happen in the next dungeon if you start researching now!?」
Alexis hurriedly reached out her hand. But Sara said, "Lily's here, so it doesn't matter!" and she walked away.
「Really... she's going at her own pace, even though there might be a big battle coming up.」
Alexis is holding his head heavily.
「...a big battle?」
Dorothea asks, and Alexis says, "Yeah, actually—," telling her about Jerome's transformation into monster.
「Ah. So you mean there are such scary monsters roaming around? ...I don't want to participate in the next one...」
Dorothea makes a disapproving expression on her face without hiding it.
「You...! Don't you have any loyalty to me as a vassal? You know, you should have said something like, "I can't put my lord in danger like that so I'll protect him!". You should at least have that kind of honorable mind...」
Dorothea's casual response made Alexis want to groan.
「Damn... why are all my vassals like this... Whether it's Fransisca or my brother, they're all loyal to them...」
「That's, you know. Isn't that a sign of normal human nature?」
Dorothea answered smiling.
「You... were pretty harsh on me...」
Alexis couldn't help but groan. It's at times like this that he feel the difference in charisma between him and the others.
But well... if Sara is not going to join, he has to tell Lily to help him next time, too.
Alexis was heavy-handed. And again, he went to Lily, knowing that she would look at him with a disapproving look.
* * *
Now, Lily was in the infirmary, wearing a medical officer's uniform.
And when she heard what Alexis said, her face tightened up but she said, "Yes, I understand!".
「I don't know how much help I can help, but as your vassal, I will definitely help you, prince!」
Lily is bracing herself for the coming of the prince.
「Ah... a goddess. There is a goddess here...」
Alexis was on his knees.
「I didn't know I had a vassal who would say this to me... Goddess is not so bad...」
Alexis was shedding tears.
Seeing him like this, Lily has a look of impatience on her face.
「Hwehh—P-Prince!? W-What's the matter!?」
Her panicked and flustered attitude also dazzled Alexis.
「Ah, it's okay. It's all right. Please be yourself, be yourself...」
「Ehh!? W-What's really going on...!?」
Lily crouched down in front of Alexis and looked into his face with concern.
Her earnest and pure attitude made Alexis almost cry again.
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