「Because you're the husband of Her Highness the Princess-Maiden. And the Priest-King. As your vassal, I'm at your service. Ask me anything」
She said this while straightening her posture in her chair, so Alexis decided to ask her questions without hesitation.
「Then, your explanation of the Princess-Maiden is not enough. I would like to know more in-depth information about Avalon. Do you know anything about it?」
Fatima's face broke into a wry smile.
「...You... Did you think that I know something that Her Highness doesn't?」
「—Oh, yes, of course, 」
Alexis leaned back, folded his arms, and grinned.
「I mean, there are so many stories in every nation that the 'decoration' don't know」
Fatima exclaimed, and then her gaze drifted in annoyance.
Soon, she responds with a sigh.
「It's terrible to call Her Highness a "decoration"... But, to put it in a bad way...yes, that's true. However, please don't misunderstand it. Her Highness has a role more important than decoration, and to begin with, the Sagrado royal family has a role that only they can fulfill—」
「...Yes, I understand that. So, are you going to answer my question?」
Alexis stopped Fatima mid-sentence with a wry smile.
Fatima looked as if she wanted to make him pay for the dishonor of calling the princess a decoration. Still, she nodded reluctantly and went on to the main topic.
「...There is. I was in charge of educating Her Highness, so I know quite a bit. Though not as much as the Senat. So, I may not have the answers you want」
「What do you mean?」
To Alexis' question, Fatima answered in this way.
「I am only in charge of education. At the end of the day, the main thing I know is that I am in charge of Her Highness' education」
Alexis folds his arms again.
However, he soon regained his composure and leaned forward.
「Well then, do you have any documents?」
「Documents...? Oh, yes, then...」
Fatima nodded her head, remembering the story, which made Alexis expectant.
「There was a bookshelf inside the royal cemetery, wasn't there? That's where most of the documents are collected」
「What!? It's in a place like that!」
Isn't this what they mean when someone says, "it's dark under the lamp"? But on the one hand, Alexis felt happy, and he couldn't help but feel a sense of relaxation.
「Shouldn't such an important document be kept in a more secret place?」
Fatima was surprised at the attitude of Alexis, who seemed to want to complain. But then, she retorted, "But that place is off-limits. It's a place that's off-limits to the public."
「Hmm... that's true」
Alexis leaned back against the back again, satisfied.
「Then I'm going to the cemetery tomorrow. I want you to come with me」
「That's fine, but what about Her Highness?」
「Should I take her with me?」
Seeing Fatima's silence, Alexis laughed.
「Well, anyway, if it's just the information it's okay to show, then Fransisca has known about it from the beginning」
「...But, Alex, it doesn't mean we shouldn't let her know. Her Highness has her own duties as Princess-Maiden. Excessive knowledge may interfere with that duty」
「I understand. So you're saying that ignorance is the true nature of a Princess-Maiden?」
「...Alex, Her Highness, is expected to be pure. There is a lot of knowledge in the world that can undermine that.」
Seeing Fatima's dissatisfied expression, Alexis laughed.
「I see. So, you guys are supposed to protect the Princess-Maiden, and the Priest-King... well, at best to be the face of the kingdom, right?」
「Your perception is wrong」
Fatima let out a sigh and spoke.
「...the Priest-King is a place of stain and responsibility. That's why I'm telling you I'll answer whatever you want.」
「I see. That's convenient」
Alexis only smiled when he heard that.
「So, I'm in a good position to go into the depths of Sagrado, aren't I?」
Fatima had a troubled look on her face.
Alexis was not in the slightest bit horrified or disgusted by this. On the contrary, he was willing to accept his position.
For Fatima, this was a complicated situation. Still, she felt sorry for herself for having just made a simple statement.
「...Earlier, I had made a mistake...」
Fatima confided. This time she did not hold back or embellish her words.
「Her Highness no longer requires... purity. Because she is no longer a Princess-Maiden. I mean, once a Princess-Maiden is bound to a new Priest-king, she is no longer a priestess. The only thing left for Her Highness, who is no longer a priestess, is to have a healthy child. So now Her Highness is just a "vessel." A vessel to leave behind the next generation for atonement... without that vessel, Sagrado cannot continue the atonement. Therefore, the vessels are cherished so they do not break before serving their purpose. Both from the priests and from God.」
Fatima stopped there.
But she seemed to say that this was why Fransisca should remain ignorant.
Because it's for maintaining her purity as a Princess-Maiden, so as not to break the precious vessel.
A Princess-Maiden has a terrible lack of freedom. The expression "born for the nation, live for the nation, die for the nation" could not be more aptly applied to this role.
Perhaps she understands this, but as Alexis remained silent, "...That's why I didn't want her to feel inconvenienced as much as possible," Fatima murmured.
「I will remain a vassal for her. I know her destiny, and because of that...」
Fatima looks Alexis in the eye.
She wants him to feel what she is saying.
「—Oh, I see.」
Then he got up from the chair and patted Fatima's head.
Fatima's pale cheeks flushed slightly while she looked embarrassed.
「T-That kind of thing is for Her Highness... you're her husband now...」
Fatima is embarrassed and mumbling.
Alexis thought she was as uptight as ever.
「You're a good priestess. Let me at least give you a compliment. Besides, you're still my slave, aren't you? I'm not going to let that nullified」
「—Alex, that kind of thing should be nullified...」
Fatima's gaze drifts toward him in distress, but she doesn't shake Alexis's hand. It might be because of her own kindness, but most of all, she is not satisfied with the situation.
"No, I won't invalidate it," Alexis answered firmly and pulled Fatima into his arms.
He could feel her skin's softness, her body's warmth, and the rapid beating of her heart through her thin clothes as he held her tightly against his chest.
「How can I be satisfied with just one woman?」
Fatima was puzzled.
「It's... it's not a good idea. You're going to be a Priest-King, you have to be aware of that...」
「Even if I'm aware of it, after we've settled Avalon, I'll rebuild Sagrado. I will make the land stand, have children, and carry on the roles and rituals of the Sagrado royal family. And while I'm at it, I'll let you have children, too」
「T-That's a bit of an afterthought...」
「Don't be so formal. Concubines are allowed in Krangal. Sagrado has to make some concessions there, okay?」
Saying this, Alexis picked up Fatima and took her to lie on the bed.
Fatima's cheeks turned red, and her face changed color. She tried to get up quickly, but Alexis held her hands tightly.
「A-Alex! Are you going to betray Her Highness right out of the marriage?」
「It's not a betrayal at all. And first of all, this is not a bad thing. I'm a Krangal, after all」
Alexis put one knee on the bed and leaned forward to cover Fatima.
「Besides, I'm in the mood to do it with you today」
When Alexis smiled at her, Fatima's face turned red, and she exclaimed.
「—A person like you...! Even if Krangals forgive you, God and priests don't forgive you!」
「God... I'm afraid that doesn't make me feel any better. After all, Fransisca told me there are only three formal pacts with God. In fact, the rest are mostly just a ruse, aren't they?」
「Wha—...! Ugh. Oh, you...! I shouldn't have told you anything, and you shouldn't have told me!」
Fatima shakes her head with tears in her eyes.
In any case, Alexis thinks she's the one who wants to get laid. Still, Fatima is always too reasonable.
「Well, that's that, nothing has changed between you and me, a slave and her master, so let's do it」
Alexis said and pressed his lips to Fatima's, who still wanted to say something.
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