In the Hà Giang Empire’s guest chamber―――
It’s the third day of the Continental Congress.
Today, Dos wakes up earlier than usual, rousing his sister from her slumber.
It’s for the sake of meeting their protection target, Orion.
Normally, as the guards, they should be the ones initiating contact. However, due to his laid-back sister, they’ve made the mistake for two days straight, having Orion come to their room instead.
Three consecutive days of that would be too much.
Though Orion doesn’t seem upset, Dos, given his personality, can’t stand it.
Despite all this, Una still groggily squints her eyes atop the bed.
She’s still sleepy even after Dos had hit her twice with his “Wind Palm” technique straight to her stomach.
Dos thinks to himself, “She’s more and more like Papa in all the worst ways.”
「…Una, snap out of it.」
「Mmm~ I’m sleepy… and my stomach itches for some reason…」
Una scratches her belly.
Observing his strangely tough yet lazy sister, Dos shakes her vigorously, amplifying the vibration several times using his wind magic.
Why is it that my “Wind Palm,” which could potentially rupture internal organs if misused, only resulted in her feeling itchy!?
I didn’t exactly hold back…
In fact, I had let out quite a bit of pent-up frustration with that move.
It seems he needs to seriously reconsider the effectiveness of his technique.
「…Una, get dressed.」
In Dos’ hand is the formal guard outfit provided by the Holy Kingdom.
Una is wearing a bathrobe-style pajama provided in the guest room. Drowsy as she is, parts of it are undone.
The richly colored exposed skin of her cleavage forms a beautiful valley. Her exposed shoulder and bare stomach are immaculate. The robe barely conceals her thighs, exuding an indescribable allure.
To the average man, the sight might be captivating, but Dos doesn’t entertain such feelings.
Instead, he’s annoyed at his sister’s carelessness.
A family embarrassment.
He’s really getting frustrated.
But he doesn’t let it show on his face.
「Umm~ Dos, why are you up so early today? Usually, Orion…」
「…Una, ideally, as guards, we should be the ones going to her, not the other way around.」
「Right, you’re absolutely right, Dos… yawn…」
When Dos emphasizes his point a tad more sternly, Una seems to relent, nodding in agreement.
Is that so?
In any case, they get dressed and head to Orion’s bedroom.
Of course, Dos took care of all of Una’s preparations: dressing her (including her underwear), washing her face, doing her hair, and even her makeup.
An older sister who just goes along with whatever is done to her.
And a younger brother who briskly helps her getting ready.
Is that really the best you can do?
Dos stress gauge is building up.
As they knock on Orion’s door, she promptly emerges, already dressed.
She’s donned the Holy Kingdom’s white nun’s habit.
「…Oh? Good morning, both of you. You’re early today?」
Orion greets them with a bow.
Her tone is not sarcastic, just genuinely surprised.
After all, during this protection mission, Una had never woken up before Orion.
「…I woke her up (physically).」
「Well, that explains things…」
Dos stands tall, while Orion covers her mouth with a hand, smiling.
Una observes them with an indescribable expression.
「Shall we get going?」
As they follow the departing Orion, Dos suddenly notices something.
（…Hmm, is there dirt on the hem?）
There’s a slight smudge of dirt on the hem of Orion’s nun’s habit.
「…Orion, there’s some dirt on your hem.」
Saying this, Dos bends down beside Orion and brushes off the dirt.
「Oh? Really? When did that happen?」
「…Did you go out?」
「…No. Perhaps it’s from the potted plants in my room.」
「Orion, I can cleanse it with my purification magic! It’ll be as good as laundering.」
Trying to recover some dignity, Una raises her hand.
「…Una, are you telling Orion to get naked here?」
The purification magic is like doing laundry. While it’s possible to use it with clothes on, it’s better to do so without them to prevent the underwear from getting wet.
Back in the Eld Desert, when Dos used it, there was nobody around, so he went ahead and used it. However, using it in public is something he’d hesitate to do.
「Um… I know I can’t see that well… but that just…」
Orion’s cheeks flush a deep shade of red, clearly embarrassed.
The answer is obvious: No.
「…it’s not that dirty. I think it’s okay to keep them on.」
They start moving to have breakfast together.
Somehow, Una’s posture seems a bit dejected.
Is it because of her older sister’s dignity?
Or is it something more delicious?
On their way, as usual, they join up with Sir Schwein――or should I say, “the pig”――and his guards, heading to the dining hall.
The floor designated for breakfast is bustling today with representatives and dignitaries from various countries.
The buffet-style breakfast considers the dietary habits of all these different nations, showcasing a vast variety of dishes.
The culinary culture of the Hà Giang Empire is among the best on the continent.
Considering its central position, it’s probably able to serve dishes familiar to every nation.
Much of this is thanks to the distribution channels made possible by Earth’s dungeon teleportation gates.
These dungeons have a significant influence in various key locations across countries.
Regardless, even during the Continental Congress, it’s a relief for Una and company――or should I say, Orion――to be able to enjoy familiar meals from the Holy Kingdom.
By the way, Una’s breakfast consists of orthodox bread, blue bean soup, and a salad with bacon made from meatball pig.
Dos has the same, and he also serves Orion’s portion.
Normally, while the employer eats, the bodyguard waits behind, but from the first day of their guard duty, they were asked to “eat together”, and since then, they’ve shared meals together.
They find a table by a window on the terrace and take a seat.
Subtly, Dos places Sir Schwein next to the window – literally making him a meat wall for any potential attack.
Even if the piggy lord were to die, Dos wouldn’t feel the slightest pain.
「Nufufu~ the food here is always so delicious… I wonder how they cook it. I’m so curious, nufufu.」
While stuffing his face with the mountain of meat on his tray, Sir Schwein (the pig) beams with joy.
「Oh, Sir Schwein, I understand it’s delicious, but you have some bacon on your cheek.」
Saying this, Orion wipes off the bacon (pig) from the piggy lord (Sir Schwein) cheek with a napkin.
Even though Orion is blind, she can sense her surroundings better than most people, thanks to her heightened other senses and magic sensing ability.
Picking bacon off a pig’s cheek is no big deal.
「Oh my, how careless of me, nufufufu.」
「Don’t worry about it.」
「Orion, this fruit over here is delicious. Would you like some?」
「Oh, can I have one too?」
「Nufufu, could I also have one, please?」
「There’s plenty, don’t worry.」
The heartwarming scene of a pig (literally) and two beauties (including Una, of course) enjoying their meal together is a sight to behold.
It’s therapeutic for Dos’s weary soul.
（…it’s like… they’re feeding a pig.）
It reminds Dos of tourists visiting a pig farm.
Time for shipping.
He can’t help but be amused by the thought.
This is one of those rare moments when even Dos’s heart feels light.
「…hmm, what’s that?」
Suddenly, Dos tilts his head, sensing something off.
What’s going on?
He scans the surroundings, seeing only the representatives from various countries enjoying their meals.
「What’s wrong, Dos?」
Una asks, munching on her salad.
She looks like a hamster.
…She’s still my older sister, after all.
There doesn’t seem to be anything amiss.
Keeping his guard up, Dos goes back to his meal.
In the midst of this―――”she” approaches.
「Hey, mind if I join you?」
Saying that, a woman sits down right in front of Dos and his companions.
Her presence breezes past Dos’s defenses.
“She” sits right before him.
Her voice is plain, unremarkable — just like any other woman’s.
And true to the impression her voice gives, there’s an ordinary-looking woman with black-rimmed glasses in front of them.
Dos recognizes her face.
（…I’ve seen her… she’s the representative from the Borhelic Kingdom…）
He knows her face, but they’ve never spoken before.
Up close, she’s truly nondescript.
When their eyes meet, she grins slightly.
It’s a smile one might easily forget.
「Nice to meet you all, I presume. Representatives of the Holy Kingdom and Sir Schwein from the Seldland. I’m Léna-Lloyd Reynolds, representing the Borhelic Kingdom.」
She momentarily rises from her seat, giving a curtsy fit for nobility as she introduces herself.
The first to respond is Orion.
「Léna-Lloyd… So you’re the representative from Borhelic Kingdom…」
Orion momentarily ponders something, but then promptly stands up, placing her hand over her heart and smiling — a gesture of greeting practiced by the saints in the Holy Kingdom.
Following suit, Sir Schwein also rises.
「My apologies for the late greeting. One of the representatives from the Holy Kingdom, I’m Orion Karla.」
「I’m Schwein Oh-Ho Rahnland, representing the Seldland. It’s an honor. I’ve heard rumors about you for a long time now, nufufu.」
「Oh, the feeling’s mutual. I’ve heard about both of your countries.」
It’s just diplomatic talk between the representatives of the nations.
No hostility can be sensed.
Dos, feeling it’s none of his business, cautiously resumes his meal.
But then, a voice echoes in Dos’s head.
『―――You’re the Golem Homunculus Dos, right?』
That same voice resonates in his head.
It’s thought transmission.
At the end of his gaze, there is a woman talking to two others, unchanged.
Even though she should be talking to people other than himself, Dos somehow felt that her gaze was directed at him.
Then, the next moment,
『Did you hear about what happened yesterday from Eli――Elibel Löwenherz?』
The woman in front of him knows about them.
We’ve been noticed.
How did she get a bead on us?
Wait, she mentioned Elibel.
Does that mean Elibel talked about us?
Is she an ally?
Why did she reveal herself now?
But this woman represents Borhelic Kingdom — the same country that once attacked our dungeon.
So is she an enemy?
What should I do?
Confront her here? Impossible.
We’ve been exposed.
Should I get rid of her? When? How?
Should I first find the source of information?
Various thoughts race through Dos’s mind.
「…What’s wrong, Dos?」
Suddenly, someone speaks.
Had his agitation been that noticeable? Orion addresses him.
Snapped back to the present by that voice, Dos realizes he was lost in thought.
He steadies his mind. A few moments are all he needs.
「Oh? You seemed a bit tense.」
「…I was just a little sleepy, I’m fine now.」
「Oh my, maybe you’re tired? The Continental Congress is in its third day, after all. The guards might be feeling the fatigue too.」
『You know, when you’re using thought transmission in front of others, you need to act calm like that. Otherwise, people will notice』
The voice in Dos’s mind advises — the same voice he’s hearing audibly.
It’s disorienting, like a broken stereo.
He wonders which mouth speaks those words, but decides not to voice that thought.
It would only confuse the situation more.
While continuing the conversation with Orion, Dos still receives thought transmissions from Léna-Lloyd.
『…who are you?』
Dos’s voice is filled with caution.
Of course, since they’re communicating via thought transmission, no one else can hear, but the emotion is certainly being conveyed to the other party.
However, the tone of Léna-Lloyd’s voice is surprisingly relaxed.
Not a hint of suspicion or caution.
『Hey, is that where you’re starting from? Did Elibel not tell you anything about me?』
Léna-Lloyd continues, her tone light and somewhat exasperated.
『Don’t be so wary. I just want to tell you something Elibel didn’t manage to share yesterday. Oh, and don’t worry about this conversation being detected by those around you. Its precision is so high that it can even slip through the perception of the ‘Holy Ark’ in front of you. Fufufu, impressive, right?』
Confused by the situation, Dos just listens. Meanwhile, Léna-Lloyd casually tears a piece of bread from the plate in front of her and pops it into her mouth.
While continuing her breakfast, she converses with Orion and Sir Schwein.
…At least, that’s how it appears on the surface.
『First and foremost, I’m not your enemy. You can rest assured about that.』
『…on what grounds?』
『Well, none, really. I’d prefer if you hold your judgment on whether I’m a friend or foe until after you’ve heard me out… This thought transmission doesn’t have any manipulation techniques embedded in it, like what Rias might use.』
Dos subtly glances over at Una seated next to him.
She doesn’t seem to be acting any differently.
（Could it be… Una isn’t receiving this woman’s thought transmissions?）
Anticipating Dos’s doubt, another message comes through.
『Oh, just to clarify, I’m not sending any thought transmissions to that lady next to you. If I did, she’d probably blurt it out and draw attention. I thought you were the better choice.』
Ah, that makes sense.
Indeed, it’s not hard to imagine Una exclaiming, “What’s this voice?! Where’s it coming from?!” the moment she hears anything.
From this, Dos deduces that the woman before him, while appearing ordinary, is quite observant.
At least observant enough to see through Una’s exterior and discern her true, somewhat clumsy nature.
Dos slightly revises his assessment of the woman before him.
『Well, fortunately, we have some time. Shall we start from the beginning?』
With that, Léna-Lloyd begins recounting the circumstances via thought transmission.
This mode of communication is faster than real-time, packing a torrent of information into Dos’s mind in just minutes.
With each revelation, Dos struggles to maintain his composure.
What was supposed to be a relaxed mealtime has turned into a tense exchange of covert communication.
However, that’s only a matter happening inside the minds of Dos and Léna-Lloyd.
However, to the onlookers, everything appears normal.
Léna-Lloyd chatters away with Orion and Sir Schwein, while Una happily munches on her fruit.
Only Dos seems distracted, mechanically eating his breakfast without tasting it. Quietly, so as not to draw attention.
A few minutes later―――
Just as Dos finishes his last bite of bread, he’s also finished absorbing the whole story.
『…honestly, it’s hard to believe.』
While a lot of what Léna-Lloyd said was dubious, Dos decides to put that aside for now.
After all, he senses that the truly important part is yet to come.
Steelng himself, Dos focuses on Léna-Lloyd, ready to dive into the main issue.
『Good, you look serious. Let’s get to the ‘main point,’ shall we? It concerns your dungeon, so listen closely―――』
As Léna-Lloyd speaks, she pokes at the last piece of salad with her fork.
By the way, next to him, Sir Schwein is helping himself to more cured ham.
Turns out, he’s into cannibalism after all.
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