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Chapter 176


 The owner gave 4 separate rooms for each.
 As for the coachman, he was directed to the coachman's section, located right next to the stables.
 Eden wanted to follow Alexis to his room, but Alexis told her to rest in her own room, where she would be safe.
 
 Now, as Alexis entered the room allocated to him alone, he let out a sigh. At the same time, he looked at the room's furnishings, such as a larger-than-necessary bed, a table for two, a closet, and a chest of drawers.
 The owner had assigned a double room to each of them, which should have accommodated two people. This must have been the inn's hospitality to the best of their ability.
 Well, it is such a cheap inn. Alexis knows that there is no way to have a VIP room. So, the owner chose the most spacious room for them.
 
(Still, I didn't need it...)
 
 For him, a single bed for one person is enough, and he can even sleep on the ground. After all, he's used to it.
 But Lily treated Alexis more grandly than she should have and revealed his identity as a prince casually. So, Alexis thinks he has to keep her quiet.
 
**a
(And I'll tell her to be a little franker, too)
 
 With this in mind, he removes the sword from his waist and leans it against the wall. But just as he sits down in his chair, he hears a knock at the door.
 It was a fading, quiet knocking sound.
 
 "Lily?" He asked her, and after a pause, she said, "...yes."
 Her voice was hushed. It seemed that she thought she was going to be scolded severely.
 
 ...Well, she might be right. But she is too silent than she should be. Against a mere sixth prince—yes, a mere sixth prince.
 It's not like other princes. Alexis thinks.
 
「Come in」
 
 Alexis answers, and the door opens, and a nervous-looking Lily enters.
 She closes the door and immediately kneels down in front of Alexis.
 
「P-Please forgive me, Prince...」
 
 Lily bowed deeply and got down on her knees to Alexis.
 
「I-I've done so many things to offend you, Your Highness... I will do everything I can to make amends! So please forgive me...」
 
 Lily is trembling. She's so depressed that it's almost pathetic.
 What is it that makes her do this? Alexis wondered, then he said to her, "Hey, Lily."
 
「Why are you treating me like a prince?」
 
 He asked her bluntly, and Lily stiffened, "Well." She felt as if she had been asked something unexpected.
 
「...B-Because, you are the sixth prince...」
 
 Without lifting her head, Lily eventually slurred back.
 
「Yeah, I am indeed the sixth prince」
 
 Alexis folded his arms and let out a sigh.
 
**b
「—But if you know, I'm the sixth prince. If you're a Krangal citizen, you know this too, right? I'm the Prince who's much closer to the common people than any of the other princes, and I'm the Prince who doesn't look like a prince」
 
「That's...」
 
 Lily's head is down, her gaze drifting.
 As her head stays down, Alexis asks her to lift her head.
 
 Lily looks up. Then, Alexis gets up from his chair and crouches in front of her so that his face is level with hers.
 
 "Look at my face," Alexis says, looking into Lily's eyes that are deeper and darker than honey.
 Lily's eyes blink into Alexis' eyes. Then her cheeks slowly blushed, as if she were embarrassed to stare at each other so closely.
 
「Ah, um... P-Prince...?」
 
 Unable to take her eyes off him, Lily's lips pursed with a puzzled expression on her face.
 Meanwhile, when he looked at her up close. Alexis thought her face had a girlish cuteness. Her wavy, sweet honey-colored hair, which falls down to the bottom of her shoulder blades, enhances her good-natured image.
 
(...Looking at her like this, she's pretty good, too...)
 
 Alexis shakes his head. Now is not the time to think about it.
 
「Look at my looks. Is there anything princely about me? If I keep quiet, no one will think I'm a prince」
 
 Alexis pointed at himself, and Lily, who was at her limit, turned red like she was about to burst into steam and said loudly, "No, it's not true!"
 
「Prince is a prince! I think you are the most wonderful person among all the other brothers!」
 
 After she said this, Lily noticed Alexis' exclamation and hastily covered her face with her hands.
 
「Ah...! No, this is...!」
 
 Lily's mouth fluttered, then she turned her head down again.
 
「I'm sorry, Prince... I've surprised you, haven't I?」
 
**c
 Her voice sounded dejected.
 Perhaps she had given up after what she had just said inadvertently.
 Still, Alexis is silent, and Lily murmurs with a sigh, "I..."
 
「...I don't want... to listen to the Prince's self-deprecation... Because you... you're special to me...」
 
 Lily fell silent.
 Her shoulders are shaking, and she is clearly in tears.
 
「......」
 
 At this point, Alexis remained silent.
 He knows that she has some extraordinary feelings for him.
 But—why?
 
(Why?)
 
 That was the only question Alexis had.
 After all, he had never been treated like this before. Not even by his brothers, who were supposed to be better princes.
 
「Hey, Lily...」
 
 Alexis can't resist his curiosity and puts his hand on her shoulder.
 
「Can I ask you something? Why do you love me so much?」
 
 Lily gulped.
 But after a moment, she nodded, "...yes."
 
 She thought it was an order from a prince she adores. So, she can't say no.
 
 Knowing this, Alexis lets Lily speak her mind.
 He knew this was probably why she was more in awe of him than she should have been.
 
「I don't know if you remember this, Prince...」
 Lily prefaced her story.
 
 Apparently, Lily and Alexis had already known each other a long time ago.
 
* * *
 
**a
 Back then, when Alexis was still a boy, he often went to the castle town to play with the common boys and girls. Lily was among them.
 
 Lily's family was poor because her father had died of illness and left only her mother. Because of this, Lily was often bullied because of her weak temperament. And the one who defended her was Alexis.
 
 Alexis was the first to notice that Lily was often left out of the group. He actively invited Lily to join the circle of friends and cared about her every time.
 As everyone knows that Alexis is the sixth prince, the presence of Lily, whom the sixth prince cared about, was soon accepted by the others.
 
 At that time, although Alexis was not always present, Lily still looked forward to his occasional visits.
 But when he eventually disappeared, Lily decided to study hard and join the court.
 
「I chose to be a medical officer because I wanted to help the sick... —and I applied for this fortress because I wanted to work close to the Prince. But I never thought that I could be so close to the Prince, and I was so surprised when Sara-sensei introduced me to you for the first time.... 「
 
 Seeing Lily's face turning red as she tried her best to speak, Alexis thought to himself.
 
(I don't remember...!!!)
 
 But, indeed, he had never liked the court since he was a child, and he used to go out to the town to play in groups with the town's children.
 However.... now that Lily mentioned it, the memory returns to him. Indeed, there was a girl who was kind of quiet, small, and not so conspicuous.
 
(Back then, I liked to get together with others and make a lot of noise, so I just invited anyone who caught my eye...)
 
 However, Alexis could not say he did not recognize her as an individual.
 So he just folded his arms.
 
「I see...」
 
 He nodded deeply and solemnly.
 
 But now, Alexis finally understood why she adored him more than she should have.
 But there was something more important for Alexis.
 
(In other words, this is what people call a childhood friend, right...!?)
 
 Unknowingly, it had passed. His period of popularity...
 
**b
(I didn't know there was someone who liked me too...)
 
 Alexis glances at Lily.
 Lily seems embarrassed by what she just told him and turns her head, refusing to make eye contact with him for a long time.
 
(Lily is cute, isn't she?)
 
 Alexis' mouth relaxes.
 She is very innocent. Just on the spur of the moment, he smacks her once before, telling her it's not naughty.
 But the fact that she accepted it with shyness is not only due to her blind trust in Alexis's words—in short, it was because she "liked the guy" that she allowed him to do such an act.
 
(If I had asked her to give me her virginity right here and now...)
 
 He can't help but think of the unexpected.
 "I mean, is there anyone else who has been so devoted to me since I was a little girl? —No, no. No, of course not," Alexis thought.
 
「Lily, you know...」
 
 Alexis clears his throat.
 
「...you said earlier... You said you'd do whatever it takes to atone」
 
 Lily looked at Alexis with wide eyes and nodded hurriedly.
 
「Y-Yes... uh, uhh. Whatever the Prince wants...」
 
 Lily responded in a trembling voice, her body shaking with depression.
 
「I see. Well, then...」
 
 Alexis gulps.
 
 Shall she pay for it with her own body? He hesitates as he tries to ask her this. After all, it's a backhanded move out of pure goodwill on her part, making amends for something as trivial as this... It's too much.
 Besides, Lily is so earnest that it makes him feel sorry when he sees her shrinking away from him.
 
**a
「...I want you to be more relaxed with me from now on」
 
 In the end, Alexis continued.
 
「After all, we've been friends since we were kids. Right? Then, that's the way it is... it doesn't matter what our statuses are. Don't you think so?」
 
 Alexis smiled at Lily, who looked up with a surprised expression on her face.
 Lily's eyes filled with tears, and she nodded with a trembling voice, "Y-Yes..."
 
「P-Prince... but I don't know how...」
 
 At this, Alexis tells Lily, who still looks a little embarrassed, "Don't worry about it."
 
「I would rather you didn't care... Especially if we've been friends since childhood. And I want to get to know you again. Do you mind it?」
 
 Lily shook her head sharply and exclaimed, "No way!"
 
「E-Even me, about Prince! A... About Prince...!」
 
 Lily's cheeks suddenly turn bright red, and her moist eyes drift timidly.
 She is about to say she likes him but is too embarrassed to do so.
 
(She's so innocent...)
 
 Alexis was touched. But he is not so naive as he has been recent.
 To be honest, he really wants to bang her. But she seemed full of it when he had played smut with her. Even if he asked her to do it, he doesn't think she could do it.
 It can't be helped. Alexis pulled Lily's petite body close and held her in his arms, hoping this libido would be eased somewhat.
 
 "Ah," Lily lets out a small sigh.
 
 Her body was soft even through the cloth.
 As had been the case when they had bathed together before, her body was feminine, though she looked younger than her age and was taller than her height.
 
(Hmm...)
 
 Alexis felt his crotch bulging, and he thought he had failed.
 He tries to pull away, but Lily leans her body against him.
 
(Wait! That's not good...)
 
 Despite Alexis' impatience, Lily presses her body against him, and he jumps a little.
 Alexis' hardened penis touched Lily's thigh.
 
**c
「...Prince」
 
 Lily screams shyly but does not let go of Alexis.
 She does not say anything else. She turns her head down and remains still, looking embarrassed.
 
 She is embarrassed to be aware of Alexis' body. On the other hand, it is too much for her to leave Alexis's body.
 Now, her soft thigh is still pressed against Alexis' penis.
 
(...Don't, if it's this way...)
 
「L-Lily...」
 
 Alexis called her name to tell her to get off of him. And when her name is called, Lily's face comes up.
 Her cheeks are tinted with nervousness, and her eyes are moist.
 
「......」
 
 Unintentionally, Alexis pulled Lily's head closer and took her lips.
 
「Mmm, ...—」
 
 Lily was startled but didn't resist.

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Edited Kanaa-senpai.
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