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Chapter 171


 The next day, Alexis decided to leave the fort after explaining the situation.
 And because of the circumstances, only a few people would go this time.
 
 Alexis told Fatima, "As long as it is a high priest, he/she can go with me." Still, as a result, only Fatima and Valencia were with Alexis.
 Eden also wanted to accompany him, but he did not bring her this time. After all, she had to stay outside for hours—even over a day if things went wrong—while he was doing his research. So, it would be too much of a pity.
 
「Why not Sara, too? I had a feeling she was a very important person」
 
 Alexis is surprised, but Valencia says, "No, Alexis-sama."
 
「Sara is only allowed to visit the court because she's a good magician, and she's a low-ranking priest, so she can't divulge most of the secrets」
 
「Are you sure, Valencia?」
 
 Alexis asked, and Valencia said, "Well, I was originally a candidate for the position of a knight of the sanctuary."
 
**a
「...And Alex, it's better to have a knight than no one but she and me, isn't it? Even if we don't go to the basement, it's not safe there」
 
 Fatima got on the back of the carriage as she spoke.
 Alexis also got on the back of the carriage, thinking they were really short of labor. However, it was true that there were few Sagrado people in this fortress.
 Today, it was Valencia who sat on the coachman.
 
「Well, let's go! Ane-sama, Priest-King, please be careful!」
 
 Was she joking, or was she serious?
 Valencia formally said this and started to drive the carriage.
 
* * *
 
 After a while, they arrived at the sanctuary and immediately entered the cemetery building to do some research.
 Now, standing in front of a stone bookcase, Fatima said to Alexis.
 
「Let me tell you something. Even though you are in a good position for us now, you are not allowed to take any of the books with you. They must not be exposed to direct sunlight, dropped, torn, or scribbled on. Even though the books are rewritten periodically, they are old books and should be treated with care」
 
 Next, Valencia stood in front of the stairs leading to the basement and raised her hand, "Then."
 
「I'll stay here and let you know if anything happens. The rest of you two, please take your time and do your research! And please don't hurt yourselves! Normally, if it's a noise, it's fine, but the smell of blood will easily wake up the previous king in the basement. Please avoid bloodshed in particular」
 
 That was her explanation.
 
「Well then—」
 
 Alexis looked around the waist-high stone bookshelves.
 The tightly lined books all had thick spines and seemed to be packed with content.
 
「This is going to be a long day, isn't it?」
 
 Alexis was determined.
 He was not a bad student in the first place. Even though it looks like it, he doesn't mind looking through books. Though it's not his strong point...
 
(I would like to leave this kind of thing to my second brother...)
 
 But he can't afford to be extravagant. In the first place, he is already a Sagrado, and his brother is a Krangal. If he doesn't do it, who will do it?
 
**b
「—Okay, I'll read it!」
 
 Alexis clapped his hands on his cheeks to get himself in the mood and set to work.
 
 
* * *
 
 
 Then he spent hours poring over the books he could find.
 There were rituals, phrases, instructions for songs and dances, a chronology of the Sagrado kingdom, events, lists of seasons and events... a wide variety of things.
 The sheer volume of the books is enormous due to their long history.
 
「...Why did these things have to be kept here? It should be kept at the court...」
 
 Fatima responded to Alexis, who found the list of priests and blurted it out.
 
「There is an old tradition of keeping important records here. Most of them are copied and put here. Those kinds of books are collected from various places. —But it should be limited to things that shouldn't be lost, you know?」
 
 This comment did not help Alexis in any way. Even if he was told that it was limited to the ones that must not be lost, it would not change the number of things to be checked.
 
「I'm getting sleepy...」
 
 Valencia was the one who panicked when he saw Alexis starting to row the boat.
 
「No, please don't... We have to try harder...!」
 
「Well, why don't you change? I need some rest for my eyes. I'd rather be on watch」
 
「Eh... T-That's! Well...」
 
 Valencia's gaze drifted awkwardly.
 Fatima, on the other hand, looked down at the book in her hand and muttered, "...No."
 
「Valencia is no good. If someone reads a book to her, she'll fall asleep in about ten seconds」
 
 Jud from Valencia's stifled voice, Fatima must have been telling the truth.
 
「It's like sleep-inducing magic, huh...」
 
 Alexis was aghast but decided to try a little harder.
 
**c
 However, Alexis is still an outdoorsman, even if he is not bad at studying.
 In any case, he was getting sleepy. Valencia looks at Alexis as he starts to row again and says, "No."
 
「Please do it properly!」
 
 Alexis wakes up with these words, but he is painfully aware that Valencia is the only one who can say something like that.
 
「...Even if you say so... Do you know how many hours I've been standing here?」
 
「I've been standing here for hours too, you know. And Ane-sama—」
 
「But that's your whole job, isn't it!? Fatima is Fatima, and she's a priestess. She's used to rummaging through books!」
 
 Alexis was finally getting irritated and was getting more aggressive with Valencia.
 Valencia was intimidated for a moment, but she chose to retort immediately, perhaps prompted by her natural competitive spirit.
 
「Y-You just doesn't have enough guts! You have to show your determination as a Priest-king or else we'll—」
 
「Ah, I see. Determination...」
 
 Alexis grinned.
 
「Okay, okay. I'll show you my determination. But I'm still sleepy and need something to help me stay awake...」
 
 Since a few hours ago, he has read many technical books with detailed text.
 He is not only sleepy but also stressed out. Boredom is the worst of it all.
 
「To keep you awake? —Well, all right. If I can prepare something for you, I'd be happy to—」
 
 Valencia said this to Alexis, leaning forward like she was in the clear.
 
「Okay! You have said that, right? You said you'd get it for me, right?」
 
「What? ...H-Huh? If there's anything, I can do—」
 
 Valencia nodded her head, caught off guard by Alexis's strange enthusiasm.
 
「Well, to begin with, this kind of work makes me even more sleepy because I'm still in agony. —So, let's do it」
 
**a
 Alexis made it so simple that Fatima's shoulders jerked as she looked down at her book, and Valencia looked blank.
 
「...Do it? Do what?」
 
「Are you just going to ignore me now?」
 Alexis folded his arms.
 
「, Of course, I'm going to do something erotic. It's a good way to clear your head, right? It's a stress reliever. —And it's a good idea, isn't it?」
 
 Alexis smiles.
 Valencia, on the other hand, looks stunned for a while, but then her cheeks quickly turn red.
 
「—W-W-Wha...!」
 
 She soon starts to shake and wince all over her body.
 
「What are you thinking, Alexis-sama?」
 
 Valencia's reaction was much more urgent than Alexis had expected.
 
「Alexis-sama is a Priest-king, you know!? You made a pact with Her Highness, didn't you!?」
 
 Valencia was trembling as she pointed at Alexis.
 —I see. That's why Valencia was surprised, thinking she was already used to it. Alexis finally understood.
 It was true that she had shown strong resistance like that when he had been with Fatima.
 
「Please say something, Ane-sama!」
 
 Valencia said to Fatima with a red face.
 Fatima froze with her book open, but then, realizing that she could no longer ignore her sister, she slowly closed the book.
 After that, she let out a sigh.
 
「...Well, you know...」
 
 Fatima looked back at Alexis and cut in like she had something stuck in her teeth.
 
「Um... hmm, well... Alex. Like I said the other day, it's not really... that good」
 
 Fatima said crisply because she knew exactly what Alexis' answer would be.
 Alexis smiled and responded, "Yeah, I know."
 
**b
「I...I see」
 
 Fatima nodded, then looked at Valencia puzzled and shook her head slowly.
 
「A-Ane-sama!?」
 
 Fatima, who was supposed to be her lifeline, was far more useless than she had expected.
 And Valencia's eyes were teary.
 
 Ignored that, Alexis walked up to Valencia, put his hand on her shoulder, and reminded her with a smile, "You'll do anything for me, won't you?"
 
「Eh? Well, yeah, that's, yes. But...」
 
 Valencia nods dutifully, her eyes swimming, and Alexis is in a good mood.
 
「Then, let's go for a minute, Valencia?」
 
 "Ehhhhh," said Valencia, astonished.
 
「A-Are you serious...!?」
 
「Yes, I'm serious」
 
「That's totally crazy, Alexis-sama...!」
 
「No, it's not. Come on, let's go」
 
 Alexis pulled Valencia's hand.

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Edited Kanaa-senpai.
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