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Chapter 168


 Before heading back to Avalon, Alexis had something to think about.
 
「The misty land—is like a fantasy of Gorlois. It was the paradise he had hoped for and was part of its end. But now that we have defeated the area boss—my Father—it is gone. The only thing left in Avalon is the truth」
 
 Fransisca told Alexis this.
 Therefore, Alexis decided to rest alone that night and ponder the situation.
 
(...So, does this mean that we will soon meet Gorlois—or, rather, the God of the Underworld? But...—)
 
 Alexis must think about what happens if the talks don't work out. At one time, the God of Underworld forgave Avalon's sin by cursing its descendants to eternal life.
 But it was broken, and Avalon reappeared. Because of the sin Gorlois created, he is punished and destroyed.
 Alexis thought that the God of the Underworld was definitely a man of bad character to choose this as a punishment.
 
**a
(I don't think such a person would easily agree to a discussion...)
 
 He told Fransisca that he could talk to him, but he didn't think it would be that easy. And her story does not give him enough information to take action.
 
(Is there someplace where I can find more detailed information...?)
 
 Lying on the bed, Alexis thinks in anguish, but then he wakes up.
 
「...I can't come up with a good idea. In this kind of situation, I can't do anything even if I think alone」
 
 It was almost bedtime, but Alexis had left the room as soon as he finished getting ready lightly, hoping she would be ready to help him.
 
 
* * *
 
 
 Alexis went to Fatima's room.
 And it was the first time Alexis had visited Fatima's room.
 
 At the time of the Sagrado wedding, she had been appointed by Fransisca as a representative of the Senate. She is also a priestess of such high rank that she is the personal maid of the princess. So, Alexis thought that Fatima would certainly be the best next point of contact to ask about Sagrado.
 
 He knocked on the room and received an immediate "Yes."
 
「Uh... it's me. Alexis」
 
 He wonders what to say for a moment, but he speaks through the closed door. Then he hears a rattling noise as if in a hurry, and Fatima did not expect Alexis to visit.
 
「Huh...!? A-Alex...? Why are you here... at this hour...」
 
 Fatima opens the door, but she has an expression of displeasure on her face. It is not her usual calm expression. Nor is she dressed as a maid.
 She is wearing only a loose-fitting one-piece dress, which is probably loungewear or a nightgown, and her hair, usually tied in a knot, is down her back.
 
 Her golden hair flows down to her waist, glistening in the room's light.
 Even a different hairstyle gives a different impression. The usually calm and cool maid stands before him as a quiet, elegant, well-bred woman.
 The woman, who still has fine features, opens her well-shaped lips and speaks in a whisper.
 
**b
「...A faithful husband does not visit anyone but his wife at night」
 
 If one listens carefully, it is a protest uttered in a calm voice.
 
「Fatima, since when did you think I was faithful?」
 
 Hearing Alexis' answer, Fatima's expression became inexpressible. She moved her mouth several times as if she wanted to say something, "...there was a time when I thought so."
 
「But...yeah. That's who you are. I just didn't know you well enough...」
 
 Somehow, she seems depressed.
 But Fatima's personal sentiments are not important to Alexis right now.
 
「Okay, can you let me in? I'm here to talk」
 
 Fatima let out a light sigh, "...okay," and let Alexis in.
 
「But then, this is just a conversation.」
 
 Ignoring Fatima's voice, Alexis looked around the interior of the room.
 
 Fatima's room had a bookshelf, shelves, and other necessities except for a bed and a table. Still, it was generally neat and tidy, with a simple interior decorated in calm colors.
 Among them, a stuffed rabbit casually displayed on the bedside table floats very much. The rabbit is clung to by a white cat wearing a collar and is being kicked off by its hind legs. It's ongoing.
 
 "...a cat," Alexis mutters, to which Fatima replies, "It's Neige."
 
「Hmm...?」
 
「D-Don't you remember? Her Highness brought it back from Avalon. And now lives in the fortress...」
 
「Ah...」
 
 Alexis thought there was such a creature.
 
「I mean, you're the one who...」
 
 Fatima sighs in a complaint, but Alexis thinks it can't be helped.
 
「Well, I'm busy with the dungeon. The pet is hardly seen at all, too」
 
**c
 "...Still," Fatima said to him again.
 
「W-Well, I came here to talk to you about something else」
 
 To cover it up, Alexis sat on a chair at a table he saw and talked to her like that.
 
「You came all the way to see me. What is so important about it?」
 
 Fatima sat down in the chair across the table from Alexis and looked into Alexis' eyes.
 Fatima's blue eyes, which looked as if they were gazing into the depths of a deep spring, were cold, but the pale expression on her face suggested a warmer mood.
 She does not reject Alexis, although she disapproves of the room visit.
 
「Fransisca told me everything」
 
 Fatima's expression softens when Alexis starts to speak.
 
「...I see」
 
 Hearing the quiet reply, Alexis nodded.
 
「I know how Avalon was born and how it came to be. I was also told about the existence of the God of the Underworld. But I could not ask him how to bring Avalon to convergence...」
 
「...Did you have any thoughts when you heard that?」
 
 Fatima suddenly asked.
 Alexis was puzzled.
 
「...What is it?」
 
「No...if you didn't think anything of it, that's fine. But still....」
 
 Fatima's small smile deepens Alexis' doubts.
 
「What is it?」
 
「No... I was just thinking... you are that kind of person」
 
 Fatima's answer is as cryptic as ever.
 When Alexis tilted his head, Fatima told him the reason.
 
**a
「Sagrado... no. You heard that the founder of the Sagrado royal family almost destroyed the world, right? But you don't seem to hate Sagrado. You don't seem to hold grudges against Her Highness or the previous Priest-King」
 
「No, I don't resent them... it was Gorlois who started it. It's not their fault, is it?」
 
「But normally... especially if it caused a lot of trouble. Don't people try to find blame and anger in the people who are still around?」
 
「......」
 
 Fatima speaks to Alexis, who is silent and looks thoughtful.
 
「That's why it was a secret... but you didn't seem to care」
 
「A secret, huh? As long as a nation exists, there are times when something has to be sacrificed and when a foreign country is exploited or used against it. It is the same for Krangal」
 
「The scale of sin is different between your country and Sagrado」
 
「That's true, that may be so. But there are certainly people who accept it and cooperate with each other. For example, a high priestess like you. Then, it's okay if there are people like that in other countries, isn't it?」
 
「...That's your answer, huh?」
 
 Fatima gave a small laugh.

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Edited Kanaa-senpai.
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