Chapter 137

 The sanctuary was located deep in the forest east of Sagrado.
 The outer perimeter of the sanctuary was surrounded by white-painted walls. The walls were old-fashioned, with geometrical patterns carved every few meters that seemed to belong to an ancient mage civilization. A circular stone is inlaid into the pattern, where the stripes intermingle.
 At first glance, Alexis thought that it was an elaborate pattern. Perhaps it is elaborate because of the location of the royal tombs.
 As the trees were getting thicker and thicker, they stopped the carriage and proceeded on foot.
 They walked around the perimeter for a while, stopped, and Fransisca said, "This is the entrance."
 At the entrance, there was a door made of stone. —But there was no key, so anyone could push it open.
「Normally, there would be a gatekeeper here」
 Fransisca pushed the door open. Beyond that is a dense bush.
「...Now, no one has been here for two years. In the past, some people entered the sanctuary twice a year or so. This is a sanctuary that is reserved for the high priests, excluding the royal family」
 Fatima nodded in agreement with Fransisca's words.
「I am one of those who were allowed to enter. I was always assigned to accompany Her Highness」
「I went in there once, too」
 Alexis was surprised that Valencia had told him this.
「They say it's only for high priests, but surprisingly anyone can enter」
 "No, not really," Fransisca laughed.
「The Contesti family is originally from the good family background. For three generations, the Contesti family has been knighted. Still, before that, the Contesti family was Senate members. Fatima and Valencia, both of them must have received the rank of the high priest along with the family name of their parents.」
 "Yes, that's how it is," Valencia said, following Fransisca's words.
「Before I became a gatekeeper of the treasury, I was also a candidate to be a knight of this sanctuary. That's why I joined, but I preferred the lively court to this quiet place」
 "Well, other people thought being a knight of the sanctuary was an honor. But I think it's very Valencian of you that you choose your favorite rather than the honor," Fatima said with a wry smile.
「I see, so that's it...」
 Alexis nodded his head, but inwardly he was surprised.
 This means that Fatima and Valencia probably have the same nobility as the nobility in other kingdoms.
 The reason why they do not look like noblemen may be because Sagrado people do not distinguish between aristocrats and commoners. Those supposed to be noblemen in other countries are treated as commoners because they live as priests.
 While thinking about this, Fransisca seemed to be looking at him, and their eyes met.
 Alexis was a little surprised and asked, "What's wrong?" Fransisca tilted her head slightly.
 "Alexis-sama, would you like to join us?" Fransisca asked.
「Are you sure? You said earlier that this was not a place for everyone」
 Alexis is surprised, but Fransisca smiles and nods. "That's true."
「I can't take you inside the sanctuary, but if you're curious, I can take you there for a little while. Fatima and Valencia are here, too.」
「Oh, okay...」
 Alexis nodded.
 However, he would be lying if he said he was not concerned about it.
「We'll go with Her Highness. You can come with us」
 Even Fatima smiled and said so.
 Alexis thought there was nothing to be afraid of, so he entered the sanctuary.
* * *
 The sanctuary was less scenic than he had expected. It looked like an open space.
 Nothing but waist-high grass was growing wildly in the deserted space surrounded by the wall.
 However, as soon as entering the place, he saw a cemetery-like building out of the corner of his eye.
 It was a square stone, box-shaped building. It was smaller than Alexus expected, about the size of an ordinary house.
 The walls were also painted white, and patterns of ancient mage civilizations were engraved on the walls.
 The entrance to the cemetery is also closed by a stone door with no key.
 When Fransisca put her hand on the door and tried to push it open, "...Shall I come too, Your Highness?" Valencia called out.
 Fransisca looked a little worried but shook her head.
「No. It's not a big deal. I'll be back soon, and it's a small place. So, I won't need an escort」
「...I understand」
 Listening to the conversation between Valencia and Fransisca, Alexis quickly stepped aside. But he wondered, "Escort?".
 Why does she need an escort to the cemetery in their kingdom?
 Fatima is the first to notice the doubtful look on Alexis' face as he watches Fransisca enter the cemetery.
 "Alex," says Fatima in a whisper.
「Just in case, you should get away from the door and take out your weapon. Although Her Highness said so, I'm afraid that nothing will happen, but anything can happen in this place」
 "What is she talking about?" He wondered, but Valencia pulled out the sword from her waist without hesitation.
 Fatima also kept her distance from the cemetery entrance and picked up the staff on her back.
(What are they doing? These guys...)
 Alexis thinks so but decides to follow their example, just in case.
 He takes a few steps away from the closed door and readies the shield on his back, while he also clutches the long hilt of his spear sword in his right hand, just in case.
(...What's going to happen? What possibly could happen...?)
 Alexis has a bad premonition about the strange cold and still atmosphere. Just then, a gurgling sound came.
 The sound came from behind the thick stone door.
「—Your Highness!」
 Valencia's face changed color.
「I was worried about this, but it seems to have failed. Alex, get ready for battle!」
 Fatima said, and Alexis nodded, "Y-Yeah!".
 Just then, Valencia ran toward the door and kicked it open.
 At the same time, Fransisca came running out of the door, and when the door opened, she pulled out the sword at her waist and braced herself for a fight.
「Alexis-sama! We're shorthanded. If this happens, there is no other way but for you to help us!」
 Fransisca said sharply.
 So that's it, that's why she told Alexis could enter the sanctuary. To take care of unexpected situations.
(I just said I wanted to get the materials for the pendant. What's going on here? What did I ask Fransisca to do?)
 Alexis, preparing himself while thinking like this, sees a blackish-colored, giant-like beast-like creature that appears from the door of the cemetery, which has been left open. Yes, it was a being just like the monsters in the Avalon.

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Edited Kanaa-senpai.
Thanks for reading.
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