In one part of the courtyard surrounding the fort, there is a stable where many horses are tied and lined up in rows.
Several servants take care of the horses there, and one of them says, "Lily-san, over here!".
"No way," Alexis thought and turned to look.
It is Lily, who is wearing a medical officer's uniform.
She puts her bag on the ground and touches the horse's body.
「What are you doing?」
Alexis asks out of curiosity.
Lily turns around with the servant.
「Prince. Are you out for a walk?」
Lily smiles and replies politely.
Alexis nodded, and Lily answered his earlier question.
「We are in the middle of a physical examination of the horses. Two other medical officers besides myself are here and are in the middle of it」
As it turns out, two medical officers are at the back of the stables and at the other horses' places.
「You're in the attacking team now, aren't you? Why don't you get out of the regular medical service?」
When Alexis says this in surprise, Lily clenches her fists.
「No, I like this job. And I get bored when I'm not moving around」
Then, Lily sticks out her tongue and says, "Hehe".
She has a freshness about her that makes such a charming gesture appropriate.
「You're a hard worker」
When Alexis says this, Lily says with a grin, "Isn't it?".
「I'm very proud to be able to contribute to the Krangal prince in such a familiar place」
Alexis felt she had always been innocently bowing to him, but she seemed to be the same.
As a Krangal, she must have heard enough rumors that Alexis is not like a prince...
（Is she the type who thinks being a prince is enough and does not need to be reasoned with?）
Alexis thought so, but he was not sure about the truth.
（Well... if it really bothers me, I can ask her again then）
Alexis thought so and decided to leave the place.
「...I'm sorry for interrupting you」
「No, no, of course not」
Then, Alexis lightly greets Lily, "See you later," and leaves.
Lily and the servants return Alexis' greeting, and then return to their work.
* * *
（Well, let's see what's next...）
The last place Alexis visited was the training area behind the outer courtyard.
There were almost no soldiers there, probably because it was after training.
Instead, Fransisca was there.
Fransisca is wielding a wooden sword against a training scarecrow standing upright against the bare earth.
"Ha!" "Come on!" she shouts, showing her sharp swordsmanship.
She seems to be trying very hard and does not notice Alexis.
Alexis lifts the edge of his lips. What caught his eyes were several wooden swords inserted into wooden boxes at the training area's side.
Alexis calls out to Fransisca, and Fransisca stops.
Fransisca turns around to see Alexis holding a wooden sword she had been training with.
「I haven't used a sword for a while, so I feel like using one. Would you like to try your hand at it?」
Fransisca was surprised by Alexis' invitation but immediately nodded her head yes.
Alexis went to the center of the training area, and Fransisca followed him.
Alexis stands low and holds his sword in the center line with both hands while Fransisca stands straight, her sword in one hand slung diagonally down.
"...Let's go," he says, "Yes!" Fransisca answered, and the next moment they were clashing their swords.
For a while, the sound of swords clashing echoed in the air.
After that, they were engaged in what could be described as a close game.
Alexis shot a decisive blow, and Fransisca caught his sword. Then, she dropped her sword from her hand.
「—That's it, then」
Alexis pointed the tip of his sword at Fransisca's forehead and smiled.
Fransisca blinked her eyes and smiled a relaxed smile.
As she says this, Alexis lowers his sword.
Fransisca picks up the sword she just dropped and mutters,"—but,"
「Even though Alexis-sama is a strong man, I can't believe I lost to a 'Guardian' in a sword fight. I've been an 'Attacker' all my life... It seems I'm not good enough」
Fransisca's shoulders slumped in shock, and Alexis couldn't help but laugh.
「...I don't know if you've forgotten lately, but let me remind you that I used to be an attacker...」
Fransisca looks embarrassed.
It was because she remembered the reason why Alexis had become a Guardian.
「...I'm going to have to punish you for this, okay?」
Alexis laughs, and Fransisca's cheeks flush.
「Eh? I... well, I didn't forget! Ah, no. It's not that I don't want to be punished...」
Alexis laughs as Fransisca blushes and clamps her hand over her mouth, her gaze drifting to the floor.
「...Well, it can't be helped. I'm a strong guy...」
「Well...you're right, that's true」
Fransisca looks somewhat puzzled.
「Well, don't look so complicated. You know that in Krangal, after Aniki, there was a rank order of strength: first the Knight Commander, then me, and then the Vice Knight Commander」
"...I see," nodded Fransisca, who seemed to have regained her composure.
「But then, I think it would be better if Alexis-sama returned to the attacker's position... now that Eden-san is here too...」
Fransisca smiled. But Alexis answered, "What are you talking about, Fransisca?"
「I've told you many times. I was already used to being a Guardian」
「That's... what I asked you, but...」
As Alexis continues to speak, Fransisca looks at him curiously.
Alexis turns away from her and says this.
「...Only a guardian can protect your back, right?」
Fransisca muttered, and then her cheeks rapidly turned vermilion.
She was red up to her ears, but she couldn't stop her mouth from breaking into a smile.
When Alexis turned his head away to hide his embarrassment, he was hugged tightly.
Fransisca hugged Alexis and smiled at him, "Alexis-sama".
「P-Please protect me.」
「Always, always, always... protect me.」
At Fransisca's whispered voice, Alexis nodded again.
「I-I get it.」
Alexis did not look at Fransisca, but his face turned red.
Fransisca, perhaps noticing Alexis' reaction, laughed, "Fufu".
「Alexis-sama...your face is red.」
Alexis was miffed at being pointed out.
「Ugh, shut up. I'm going to really punish you later」
「Yes, that's fine. Shall I ask you tonight?」
Fransisca, on the other hand, was in a good mood and smiling.
Her smiling attitude makes Alexis can't help but sigh.
He secretly thought that he would punish her. But she would only be pleased if he told her.
"...Well, but," Alexis thinks.
Then, his expression tightens.
Seeing her smiling is good because things have been going so well so far.
However, it may not go well forever. So—
（I'll do it. I'll definitely do it...）
Alexis thought like that.
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