When Alexis arrived late at the assembly point with Valencia to go to Avalon, he was so surprised that his eyes were wide open.
The people waiting there were Fransisca, Fatima, Dorothea, and Sara. For the first time in a long time, he had not seen the petite little girl-like figure in the assembly point.
「Where is Lily?」
When he asked, Sara turned her face to a miffed one and muttered, "Ehh, it's terrible."
「Can't I go?」
「No, it's not that... but I thought you were busy with your research these days」
「Well, that's true. But I'm here because I'm available, right?」
Alexis scratches his hair.
Well, Sara is surely capable, though she is a bit too fast-paced. Anyway, that's good enough. Then he turns his eyes to Dorothea.
「...Hey, Dorothea. What is that?」
There was something that was bothering Alexis.
It was because Dorothea was holding a big shield. She probably wasn't going to be a guardian, right?
The shield was hexagonal, and its main material was a thick layer of gathered magical crystals. Still, something inlaid in the center of the shield looked like a shell with a hollowed-out pattern.
「Is it made of... monster material? When did you bring such a thing home?」
As Dorothea giggles, Alexis remembers what he wants to say.
「—Oh, yeah. My shield, is it ready yet? I just went to the workshop, and your grandfather told me it wasn't there...」
"It's the new shield," says Dorothea, holding it out to him.
「What? I thought you were going to use it」
「Of course not, I'm not a guardian」
Dorothea responded with a complaint, saying the same thing Alexis had thought earlier.
After seeing that Alexis had received it, Dorothea explained, "That shield."
「It's made of a special material that I happened to have on hand—」
「Special material? —Oh, you mean this one. It has a strange shape, doesn't it? Is it a shell of some kind?」
Alexis turned the shield over and stroked the shell, asking a question.
「Those are Lorenzo's horns」
Dorothea answered casually, and Alexis was blown away.
Alexis hurriedly throws away the shield.
「...Hey, it makes me sick to hear you say that... Can you please stop it! You use strange things as materials...! My hands are getting dirty...!!」
Well, that's not a very nice thing to say.
「...Alex-kun, are you maybe too strict with boys?」
Sara blurted out a question.
"Idiot. Everyone is hard on boys," Alexis responded with a straight face.
「I see...but it's pretty good, you know」
Sara started to follow up with a wry smile.
「I've been trying to study it for a while, cutting it, applying pressure, and so on, but I can't seem to get a grip on it. However, I discovered that these resist acid, heat, freezing, and electric shocks. So I gave it to Dorothea as a weapon material」
「That's right. Well, you should try it. I'm sure it's pretty good」
Dorothea concluded as if following Sara.
I see. That was why Dorothea and Sara had been seen walking together at the fort a few days ago.
「Well, if that's the case... I guess I just need to avoid touching the surface...」
Alexis was wary and carrying a large shield.
And Dorothea said, "Do you hate it that much?" and giggled.
Anyway, after putting the shield on his back, Alexis decided to compose himself.
He looks around at the five members, except himself, and says, "Well."
「It's a little late, but let's set off for Avalon! Our goal is to search for and defeat the area boss. Let's go!」
Each of them replies to Alexis' command.
* * *
They are back in the dungeon for the first time in a few days.
With its gloomy atmosphere, the foggy air has become familiar and nostalgic. Thinking about it, since arriving at this area, the search has been difficult, and the area has not progressed at all.
After all, this area is so different from the previous ones.
「No matter how many times I come here, it doesn't feel like a dungeon, huh?」
Alexis suddenly remarks as they walk through the damp grassy area.
"...I guess so," Fransisca replies.
After all, she knows something. She knows something and won't talk about it.
Although Alexis is a little annoyed, he is almost there. She has agreed to allow him to join the Sagrado royal family if he defeats the area boss, the Priest-King.
（—Though I'm not so sure about that... Why am I trying to get Fransisca's approval... Aren't I supposed to be in charge of this!? Right...!）
He grumbles inwardly without telling anyone, but that's how it's supposed to be.
It's all going to end when he joins Sagrado's royal family. Alexis thinks.
* * *
The day was uneventful, and they decided to rest in the mage's garden box.
The mansion, which had been destroyed by the battle with Jerome last time, stood as if nothing had happened to it, and the interior was as clean and tidy as ever.
「This artifact is so convenient...」
Alexis muttered as soon as he passed through the front door.
「Anyway, let's go take a bath soon, shall we? I'm sweating」
「Yes, you're right. I agree! How about you, Your Highness?」
「Yes. Let's go」
「If you're going, I'll go too」
The women present, except Dorothea, who is currently on guard, do not seem to have any doubts and seem to be enjoying the comfort of the artifact as a matter of course.
That's the Sagrado people. Are they highly adaptable to artifacts?
「You guys are very adaptable... Well, I'll be next...」
As Alexis spoke these words, Fransisca grabbed his right arm, and Fatima grabbed his left arm.
「What are you talking about? You are welcome to join us」
Fransisca said smilingly, and Fatima looked calm.
She only said, "It's Her Highness's wish."
Alexis tried to act like a gentleman, but he got this.
However, all four women here are in a relationship with Alexis. Actually, if Dorothea, on guard, is included, that would be all five of them.
It seems that the girls do not feel the need to separate the bathrooms due to this fact.
（Is this a kind of "drinking party"...?）
Anyway, Alexis thought this was "not bad," although it was actually a misuse of the word.
"Well, it can't be helped," he said, but he still showed gratitude.
「If you say so, I will join」
「...Ah, please don't include my opinion in that, okay?」
Sara pointed out sharply with a wry smile.
「I don't care. I was invited, so I don't have a choice, do I?」
Sara withdrew her opinion after a moderate pause, which indicated that she did not mind.
「Let's go, Alexis-sama!」
Valencia invites innocently.
「I'll be pleased if Alexis-sama joins us. —Right, Fatima?」
Fransisca was also very honest as she said this with a smile.
On the other hand, Fatima, who was asked to speak, seemed a little embarrassed, to be honest. Her cheeks flushed a little, and she nodded her head, saying.
「If you say so, I guess I'll go with you」
In the end, Alexis no longer hesitated and accepted their request.
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