Perhaps due to the early departure time, Alexis and the others were able to arrive at the royal capital in the morning.
The castle town, the main capital of Krangal, is quite spacious, with wide brick-paved streets stretching in all directions. The town is lined with brick houses, a tall clock tower, a spacious national library, a public bathhouse, a market, and a square, and is very lively.
Even in the morning, people come and go, and the market, which is already open, is crowded with women buying ingredients for breakfast.
Now, passing through the crowd, the carriage moves slowly along the street.
"—It's a nostalgic scene," Lily suddenly opens her mouth as she peeks out of the window of the carriage.
「It hasn't even been six months yet. I feel nostalgic.」
"Yeah," Alexis nodded, but didn't really agree.
He had spent much more time traveling around as an adventurer than he had spent at Krangal Castle, at least since he had come of age.
The Krangal town is divided by a wall as high as a man's height and a gentle slope, and there is no main street that runs in a straight line.
In order to reach the castle in the center of the town, they make a detour to the right and to the left to get closer to the castle.
「When we get to the castle, do you want to go and be a bookworm right away?」
It was Maria who asked this question.
Alexis thought that this was a rare occurrence.
She must be in a good mood, expecting to be surrounded by many books. It was easy to see by her unusual and somewhat lively expression.
「Yes. I've already had a quick breakfast, so I'll do that. You'll show us the way, right?」
Maria nodded her head and said, "Okay".
* * *
The Krangal Castle, a magnificent gray stone palace, stands in the center of the town.
Immediately upon arriving at the castle, Alexis planned to go to the National Library located near the castle.
However, as soon as he entered the castle, he was stopped in the hall by a knight of the castle who said "Your Highness Alexis!"
「His Majesty wants to see you」
「What's the matter at a busy time like this?」
Alexis looked uncomfortably, but there was someone who said, "Of course".
Walking out from the hallway facing the hall was Christo Wibberly Krangal, the first prince of Krangal.
He had short gray hair, almost silver blonde. He has green eyes and an intellectual look with slanted eyes and a long face.
「What kind of a boy goes home and doesn't show his face to his parents?」
Christo spreads his arms as if he were making a speech, and it suits him well.
He is somewhere between a young man and a mature man, wearing a loose robe, a cloak with the Krangal national emblem, and a civil official's hat. He is a prince, but at the same time he is a civil official.
「In the first place, you should have something to report. Don't you?」
He gives a pouty look and talks like an old man. Alexis thought.
But then again, maybe that's just as well.
The rank insignia on the left chest of his robe indicated that he was of a high rank among civil servants.
In short, Christo is working among the elderly civil servants day in and day out. It is not surprising that one or two of his speech and gestures have changed.
「...Yeah, I guess so.」
Alexis scratched his hair roughly.
「Still, that doesn't necessarily. Maybe, we can talk about it later, though, right? It's not a big deal.」
「Aren't you the only one who thinks so? After all—everyone knows that」
Christo folds his arms and begins to walk slowly around Alexis.
「How long you've been on the throne of Sagrado and how you've been accepted by the Priestess. There are so many questions I'd like to ask you」
Christo circled around and stopped in front of Alexis.
「I know that Sagrado's wedding is a secret. But don't you think you should tell us about it?」
Alexis took a breath and let it out in a deep sigh.
Then he looked back at Maria and Lily, who were standing behind Alexis.
「...You guys. I've got some business to attend to. Go ahead and gather the books of interest」
Maria and Lily nodded, thanked Alexis and Christo, and left.
Alexis then turned his attention to Eden.
「Eden. There's something. Follow me.」
Eden nodded silently.
* * *
Along with Christo, Alexis took Eden to visit his father's study in the back of the palace.
The king was not always in the audience chamber. When he does not have an audience, he does his administrative work in his study.
At Christo's prompting, the knight standing by the door of the study opened the thick door.
Christo entered first and spoke to him, "Father."
King Krangal was writing at a big desk in the middle of his study.
When his father stopped writing and looked up at him, Christo spoke plainly.
「I have brought Alexis」
「Well, thank you」
He nodded and told Alexis to come closer.
Alexis nodded and walked to the back of the study to meet him behind his desk.
The king's brow wrinkled deeply and he murmured, "Alexis," as soon as he saw the face of his son, who was the most eccentric of all his sons.
「I have read the letter. Regarding Jerome's memorial service, I will work on it. But—」
It seems that what the father now wants to say is the topic after the word "but".
「You really did get married, huh! Thanks to you, there's whispering. They say you forced the weak princess of Sagrado to marry you, the most insignificant son.」
「That's a bit harsh」
Alexis tried to shrug his shoulders, and the king snarled, as if interrupting his movement.
「Well, that's enough of that. I'll put an end to that kind of notoriety—but more importantly」
Father King tapped his desk and leaned forward.
「What about your share? You may want to take the money for yourself, but that's not going to happen. How many artifacts lie in Sagrado? But only after we finish discussing our share...」
Hearing his father's line in a hushed voice, Alexis laughed bitterly.
「...You're really stubborn...」
「Don't praise me. Compliments don't get you anywhere, do they?」
His words made Alexis let out a sigh.
Nevertheless—his father is definitely a good king. He is a good king who thinks about how to make profits from other nations and put them back into his own country.
This is evidenced by the vitality of the castle town. The introduction of the free market was also done by Alexis' father.
「Anyway, the situation can't go forward without finishing the story! Why didn't you tell me if you were going to proceed with the wedding? If anything, I would have taken care of the princess to make things a little more glamorous...」
His father taps the desk restlessly with his fingertips. He wants to impose a little of his gratitude on her. But that could easily backfire on him. Alexis thought to himself.
「I don't need any extra help. If I tell you, Father will try to make it more gorgeous, won't he? You're going to provide me with a 1,000-strong order of knights, 2,000 horses, gold and jewels, and even an acolyte as a bridegroom's gift.」
「Of course. Isn't that the least we can do to atone for sending a worthless fool to a land of history?」
Alexis was a little hurt by the way he was being treated.
「Don't you think it would be a good sign to other countries, no matter how ruined they are? After all, you know that, don't you? Sagrado is a special country. It's different from other countries, you know?」
Well, he has his reasons.
"But, father," Alexis retorts, swallowing it all down.
「It would have been a problem if I had done that at the wedding. So it's a good thing I didn't tell you. Sagrado weddings are a secret ceremony. You know that, don't you?」
「That much, yes. I'm sure people know about the special rites there.」
「Then Father doesn't have to get involved. I'd appreciate it if you could help me out when I ask you to」
Alexis said crisply, and the king groaned.
He looked him in the eye and Alexis said, "Don't you believe me?"
「I don't believe you!」
His father king replied, and Alexis' shoulders slumped in disappointment.
「But, you know...」
He sat back deeper in his chair and folded his arms.
「You certainly don't listen to my commands! But at least you are not a fool」
He then looked at Alexis and add,
「You have a plan, don't you? Althought it's true that you don't have a good reputation with the outside world, that doesn't mean I— no. I don't think you're foolish enough to oppose and antagonize this Krangal kingdom. So, you are preparing a result that I will be satisfied with, aren't you?」
Relieved, Alexis patted his chest and straightened his back.
「...I intend to, Father.」
「...Okay. I'm counting on you.」
With these words, the conversation about Sagrado was over.
They then moved on to Jerome's cemetery and mourning.
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