1

“N-, now now, there’s still food on the table,” Leone chimed in with amusement from across the table.

“There’s an order for what to eat…! It was fried chicken!” Inglis protested, her frustration evident. Having been inseparable since infancy, Inglis and Rafinha shared similar tastes and a particular order in which they enjoyed their food. This commonality often led to their playful competition at the dining table.

“Is-, is that so? Do you want to sit here instead? Maybe it’s easier to reach from here,” Leone offered, understanding the dilemma.

“Yeah, I’ll take that offer,” Inglis responded, seizing the opportunity to change her tactics.

“Excuse me,” she said, deftly pivoting off Rafinha’s lap and onto Leone’s, a swift decision made in the spur of the moment.

“Sure, come sit with me,” Leone welcomed Inglis, evidently pleased to have her company.

“Hnn~ …I still can’t reach it,” Inglis lamented, her eyes fixed on the elusive fried chicken.

“Here, I’ll take it for you,” Leone offered kindly.

“Thank you, Leone,” Inglis said, her tone filled with gratitude. Perhaps this was indeed a more strategic position. With Rafinha, the battle for food was a challenge she often lost, thanks to the disadvantage of arm length.

“Yup, delish…!” Inglis couldn’t help but vocalize her pleasure as Leone assisted her in the culinary conquest, dish after dish.

She didn’t have to contend with Rafinha’s interruptions, but a new predicament arose.

“…hmm…” Inglis pondered, sensing something amiss.

“Hm? What’s wrong, Inglis?” Leone inquired, picking up on Inglis’ hesitation.

“Well…” Inglis began, looking up at Leone, when suddenly—

Her face became enveloped by Leone’s bosom, an unintended consequence of their close proximity.

“I-, I’m sorry, Leone…” Inglis apologized, mortified by the accidental intimacy.

“It’s okay, don’t mind it,” Leone reassured her, unperturbed by the situation.

Inglis was acutely aware that Leone’s nonchalance stemmed from her current appearance as a child. Had she still been in her original form, that of the Old King, Leone’s reaction would have undoubtedly been one of shock and rejection.

And yet, it was precisely those generous curves that presented the challenge. With every lean forward Leone made to serve her food, her bosom would inadvertently press Inglis forward, leaving little space between her and the table. For someone who didn’t revel in such closeness, this was far from blissful.

To make matters more complicated—

Leone’s body quivered with a sudden jolt!

“Ah…! W-, wait, not now…! Hyan!” Leone gasped as Rene, the petite Magic Stone Beast, emerged from her cleavage, shaking her head in apparent annoyance.

“Aah, you want to monopolize Leone, do you? I’m sorry I disturbed you.”

With Inglis in her childlike form, Rene had no choice but to seek comfort with Leone. Inglis must have interrupted their peaceful moment.

“Uu… You’re cute like this, Inglis, but I wish you’d revert back soon…”

Leone’s sigh underscored the situation. Certainly, Inglis couldn’t expect Leone to attend to Rene indefinitely.

“Y-, you’re right. Although, part of me wishes to enjoy this form a little longer,” Inglis replied with a wistful tone, revealing her mixed feelings about the situation.

“How cruel…! Revert back soon so we can share this burden together!” Leone implored, her eyes brimming with a blend of reproach and tears.

“Hahaha… I would if I could. Rani returned to her original form naturally; I’m sure my turn will come before long,” Inglis reassured her with a laugh, easing the tension.

“If so, why don’t you sit with me, Miss Inglis?” Liselotte interjected, patting her lap invitingly.

“Yeah. I’ll take that offer,” Inglis accepted with a smile, moving toward the offered seat.

“Please do! Don’t be shy now!” Liselotte’s face illuminated with joy at the acceptance.

“I shall bring you the food you desire ♪” Liselotte offered cheerfully, picking out delicacies for Inglis. She didn’t compete for food like Rafinha, nor did she offer the overwhelming embrace that Leone did.

“Hmm. I think this is the best seat.” Inglis mused contentedly.

“Oh, is that right? Well, I suppose we should dine together for a while, then,” Liselotte agreed, her joy evident as she gently patted Inglis’ head and embraced her, mindful not to hinder her eating.

Indeed, dining in Liselotte’s lap seemed to be the best option for Inglis.

“I hear you turned little as well, Miss Rafinha? I wish I could have seen it,” Liselotte mentioned with a hint of melancholy in her tone.

“She did. She was adorable,” Leone added, her smile fond as she recalled the sight.

“How very enviable. I wish I had been to Arlman as well.” Liselotte’s voice carried a tinge of regret.

“Not everything was good to look at, though,” Rafinha interjected, her face growing somber.

“…undead, is it?” Liselotte’s tone was inquiring.

“Yup. They’re just, you know, nasty and grotesque. I’d rather not talk about them while I’m eating…” Rafinha’s grimace was a clear indication of her distaste.

Inglis and the others had previously reported their encounters with the undead to Special Envoy Theodore and Principal Miliera back in Arlman. Prince Wayne, by now, must have also been briefed. Thanks to the Knight of Arlman, an investigation had already commenced in the region.

“Then all the more reason. I’m frustrated I wasn’t there for my best friend when she needed me,” Liselotte expressed, her sentiment genuine.

“Liselotte…thank you.” Inglis and Rafinha both expressed their appreciation, touched by her sentiment.

“It’s nothing. But still, these undead… you said. They must be quite the unusual creatures.” Liselotte pondered.

“They are. I think they are either spawned by a very rare Artifact or a Highlander’s magic,” Inglis theorized.

“However…perhaps, I might have encountered some myself,” Liselotte added with a thoughtful frown.

“Eeehh?! You met an undead too, Liselotte?!” Rafinha exclaimed, shooting up from her seat, which scraped back with her sudden movement.

“Th-, thank goodness you’re okay…!” Leone chimed in, placing a hand over her heart in a gesture of relief.

“Thank goodness, really. Can you tell us what happened?” Inglis urged, eager to hear Liselotte’s tale.

“Of course. I’ve only heard about the undead as you’ve described them, so I can’t confirm if what I saw was the same, but…” Liselotte began, setting the stage for her story of the events that unfolded during her vacation.