Chapter 141

 However, Alexis's proposal about Sagrado just now seemed to have considerably weakened the King's heart.
 The next time Jerome was mentioned again, the King listened very calmly than before.
「Hmm... I see. If he didn't listen to what his personal guard said, there's nothing more I can do. In the beginning, he always had a side of a wild boar... He's just like you, Alexis. Or should I say the same as me...?」
 After muttering this, the King let out a short breath as if he had accepted the situation to some extent.
「...At least, let's get his body... —But it seems to be impossible. In that condition...」
「Yes... Please forgive me...」
 Fransisca replied in a low voice, and the King nodded.
「...Well, it can't be helped. Don't worry about it. To begin with, Alexis seems to have been pushed around a lot... he's always been like that. In childhood, I saw him as an innocent, but at his age, he was just an insolent person. Still, he should be capable...」
 The King sighs deeply.
 Fransisca can only return a wry smile as if she had always had a hard time with Alexis's nature.
 After a while, the King regained his composure and told Fransisca.
「...I have heard that there is a song in your land that comforts the soul...」
「Yes, of course」
「Then at least... if you can't bring him back, please give him proper rest. Please don't let my son remain a miserable monster. Usually, I would mourn him myself, but...」
 At that moment, the King glimpsed a somewhat regretful look on his face and put his hands on his knees.
「...My position does not allow me to do so... I'm sorry, but Alexis and princess, can you act on my behalf?」
 "...That's been the plan all along, Father."
 "Yes, of course, Your Majesty," Alexis and Fransisca reply.
「That's it...」
 The King nodded and turned his eyes toward Fransisca again. His gaze was filled with the earnestness of a father.
「For now, I want you to mourn for him who has become a monster and do a memorial service for him. If it is a memorial service offered by the Princess-Maiden, it will make me feel a little better, even if it is only in an empty tomb. Please do this for me, Princess-Maiden」
 After saying this, the King bows deeply to Fransisca.
「...Of course. Certainly, I will do so... King」
 The King bows to the princess of a weak nation he is supporting. Fransisca quietly replied that way, taking into consideration the feelings of King Krangal, who had no choice but to do so.
* * *
 As soon as the conversation was over, King Krangal returned back immediately.
 Before that, the King asked Alexis to come over for a private conversation.
 Fransisca had left the command center out of concern. The King's advisers also left the room at the King's request.
 In the now empty room, the King talks to Alexis. There was no longer the same stern atmosphere as before.
「You are still the same」
 "Is that so?" Alexis replies nonchalantly.
「...Well, are you serious? You were talking about Sagrado...」
 Alexis realizes that the King wants to talk about what Alexis had said about getting Sagrado.
 "...I mean it," he responded.
「You're going to have a hard time, you know」
 The King said crisply.
「With a devastated land and a people too few to count, how do you expect to recover from this?」
「Well, we're going to need Krangal's help」
「...You're relying on me from the start?」
 The King smiles bitterly.
「Well, if that's what you want, I will do it. I'll consider if you're willing to work a little more honestly for me. But how can I help? What are you going to do after you get rid of Avalon? Isn't that priestess hard to control?」
「Well, who knows...」
(There are some people in the world you shouldn't play tricks on, right, Father?)
 Alexis thought so inwardly but decided to keep quiet about it.
「Still, I'll have to make it work out, right?」
 Alexis answered detachedly and added, "...it's just, Father."
 He immediately became serious and leaned his back against his chair.
「...Maybe we should have followed the example of other countries...」
 Alexis says to the King, who raises his eyebrows.
「...Father, you've got a bit of a stubborn streak in you. I'm sure you were blinded by the resources of Sagrado's ancient mage civilization and readily offered your support. But you know, maybe the other countries were wise to be cautious about the unknown of Avalon」
 The King is silent at Alexis's unusual mood.
 To the King, Alexis said, "I mean, Sagrado people are... well... The Kingdom is not so easy to deal with, is it? " he tells them in a light tone.
「...I know that」
 The King replied in a tone as light as Alexis's.
「...When I lost Jerome, I regretted it... Would you back out of this?」
「I can't do that, not now」
「Of course...」
 He must have known that Alexis would answer in that way from the beginning.
 The King just smiled bitterly.
* * *
 Before evening, Alexis and Fransisca watched from the fort's gate as the King left on his carriage.
「...Alexis-sama. Hasn't it been long since you and your father spoke together?」
 Fransisca suddenly asked.
「Yeah... that's true」
 Alexis nodded, and Fransisca giggled.
「Did you enjoy it?」
「...Well, I don't know...」
 "I'm not so much a kid as a man who misses his father's company..." Alexis chuckles at the thought.
 When he still thinking, Fransisca says to him.
「Alexis-sama and the King don't seem to be on bad terms. Then you'd better enjoy it. Someday... parents will be gone before we are」
 Suddenly, Fransisca says vaguely with a faraway look in her eyes.
「Yeah, that's true...」
 Nodding his head, Alexis suddenly realizes.
 There is a rule of thumb in her words. For Fransisca, there is no such thing as a parent-child relationship anymore. Not only that but what awaits her is a...
 When silence falls, Fransisca's eyes turn to him.
「...what's wrong?」
「Uh... no, nothing」
 Alexis was stumbling for words.
 Come to think of it, he had never seen her shed a tear in response to that. She is just looking forward and trying to solve the problem.
「...You are surprisingly strong, aren't you?」
 Hearing Alexis' words in a whisper, Fransisca's eyes widened in surprise.
「...Because of you, Alexis-sama」
 She whispers and squeezes the hem of Alexis' clothes.
「I know I'm not worthy, but in the end, without you, I would still be a weak princess who can't do anything」
 Alexis shuts her mouth.
 And once again, he was going to do something about it. He was going to do something about Jerome, about Sagrado.

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Edited Kanaa-senpai.
Thanks for reading.
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