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Chapter 174


 After two days of research, Alexis and the others had returned to the fort.
 Having gone through the books in the cemetery, they understood that God is immortal and Avalon is under his jurisdiction.
 
「At the end of the day, I feel like we're just being confronted with something beyond control」
 
 Alexis said gravely in the command center to the two women who had helped him with his research.
 
「What are you going to do, Alexis-sama?」
 
 Valencia, standing by the desk where Alexis was sitting, asked a question.
 
「Are we going to report this to Her Highness?」
 
「I guess we have to ask her to repent to God and let him be satisfied with her anger...」
 
 Fatima, standing to the right of Alexis, muttered this with her hand on her chin.
 
 At that moment, the door to the room opened, and Fransisca rushed in.
 
**a
 "Alexis-sama!" she said, running up to Alexis right before him.
 
「Welcome back! How did it go?」
 
 He had told her he was going to the cemetery.
 
 "Oh, it was okay," Alexis trailed off and folded his arms.
 As he did so, he muttered, "The moon god, huh...."
 
(I know there are books about gods in my kingdom, too. I wonder if there is a book about the God of Sagrado?)
 
 At this point, it is hard to believe he can get valid information.
 But Alexis tends to be unconvinced unless he can eliminate even the slightest uncertainty when he knows what is in front of him is important.
 
(—But there are no great books in the fort... I want to return to my home country...—But I'm fed up with the work in the cemetery. Do I have to go through such a huge amount of books from scratch again? If only there was someone who knows books...)
 
「...—huh?」
 
 Alexis suddenly remembers someone in his mind and mutters in his mouth.
 
「...What is it, Alexis-sama?」
 
 Fransisca looks at Alexis, and he quickly gets up from his chair.
 
 "Isn't it Maria? " he exclaimed.
 
「Maria...? You mean Maria Keithley, the Conjuror?」
 
「Yes!」
 
 Alexis nodded and said, "I've got some business to attend to. I'm off!"
 With that, he quickly left the room.
 
 Fransisca watched him go with a vacant look on her face.
 
「...um, Fatima...what happened?」
 
 Fransisca asked, looking back at Fatima.
 Fatima smiled at her and said, "No... well."
 
**b
「He is busy with his thoughts right now」
 
「...I see. Since we haven't met in a while, I would have liked to talk with him more leisurely」
 
 Fransisca's somewhat sad expression on her face made Fatima curious, so she suggested, "Then."
 
「Let's have tea now. I will bake some tea cakes」
 
 At this, Fransisca smiled and said, "That might be nice. Please, Fatima.」
 
「Yes. Leave it to me, Your Highness」
 
 Fatima smiled and nodded.
 
 
* * *
 
 
 Alexis was about to go to Maria when he realized he did not know much about her. Come to think of it, he didn't even know which room she was in.
 Besides, because she hates men, if he went to her room openly, she might not like him.
 
(...I don't have a choice. It's a hassle...)
 
 Alexis asks the servants to find her first and asks them to call Maria. By the way, the current maid of honor is a new one.
 There are now three maidservants in the fort. The number of attendants is kept at a minimum.
 And to one of them, Alexis had sent Maria to the popular soldiers' canteen.
 
 The mess hall has several tables and a counter with direct access to the kitchen. Long tables and couches are lined up in a row.
 
 Since it is now well past lunchtime, the place is sparsely populated.
 Still, it is a place where anyone can come and go. Moreover, the cooks come as soon as someone calls out to them. They are ready to take orders at any time.
 This is Alexis' way of making Maria a little less nervous.
 
 Now, Alexis sat down at one of the tables and waited, and Maria arrived a little later.
 She was wearing a robe over a long-skirted dress. The robe was not a conjuror's robe like the one worn when going to Avalon, but a custom-made robe for the mage soldiers in the fortress, which served as a kind of uniform.
 It is made of a simple dark blue cloth, almost black, with the national emblem of the Krangal kingdom embroidered on the back.
 
**c
 Maria, wearing the robe, must have heard that Alexis had asked her to come. But, from the beginning, she has an expression of impatience on her face as if she is asking about Alexis from behind her round glasses.
 And today, she was another woman with a big braid on her back, looking somewhat innocent and quiet.
 
 But Alexis knows long ago that this is only a mask she wears.
 
 Alexis called the cook while beckoning Maria, who did not come closer to him. He orders a drink for both of them.
 It was not alcohol. It was just a cup of tea since it was late in the afternoon.
 
 When Maria was called again, she sighed and finally walked up.
 She sits down across the table from Alexis. And immediately after that, she mumbles, "What's your business?"
 
「You've got quite an attitude」
 
 Alexis couldn't help but laugh.
 
「...I mean, since it's you」
 
 Maria looked away and murmured in a small voice.
 
「So, what is it? I don't have time for this. Please be straightforward」
 
 She said this without making eye contact.
 
 Well, in her case, it's not that she doesn't have time. It's just that she doesn't like him.
 Alexis thought so, but he didn't point it out.
 
 Just then, the cook brought them some tea. He was thoughtful enough to add some sweets to the tea.
 As he looked at them on the table, Alexis started to speak.
 
「You used to be the library's assistant manager at Krangal Castle, didn't you? Are you familiar with books?」
 
 Maria let out a puzzled voice. She had not expected Alexis to ask her such a question.
 
「Eh... Well, yes」
 
 Maria touches the teacup with tea, keeping her eyes on Alexis, who does not let down his guard.
 
**a
「...I can't be an assistant manager unless I know much about it.」
 
「Do you like to read?」
 
「What? ...Well, yes. But...」
 
 Maria is puzzled by Alexis's intentions.
 She was puzzled, but Alexis gave her a relieved smile.
 
「Good!」
 
 Maria was surprised to hear Alexis say so, and she replied, "Yes?"
 
「No, I'm really glad you're here」
 
 Alexis said with a smile.
 
「Eh... h-huh? Yes? What's going on here?」
 
 Maria could not help but be puzzled.
 She didn't expect a man to ask her about her favorite book and to say that he was glad she was there because she liked books. That's what he said. There is no reason not to be puzzled.
 
(Even though his penis is weird...)
 
**b
 Thinking about it, Maria suddenly remembers what happened with Alexis.
 Yes, his tentacle. His tentacle penis is horrifyingly strange and yet terribly pleasurable.
 
「......」
 
 Maria's face naturally heated up, and she hurriedly turned her head down to hide it.
 
「...Maria, what's wrong?」
 
 Alexis is looking at her with a puzzled look on his face.
 
「...N-Nothing!」
 
 Maria's tone had become a little more forceful.
 
「Really? Well, that's all right then」
 
 Before Alexis, Maria's eyes looked at the tea in her hand. Maria was drinking it to calm herself down.
 
「...So, what's this all about? What's the use of being a book lover?」
 
「You, come with me to the library in our home country」
 
 Immediately, Maria muttered, "What?"

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Edited Kanaa-senpai.
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