Fransisca confided after this introduction.
「You may have noticed it by now. But, there's a monster in the royal cemetery. And most of the bodies of the kings... aren't there. Well, maybe it's a mistake to say there aren't any. To be precise... most of them are found. Also, as you saw, Alexis-sama, the monster. That's the body of the king, too」
"...What?" Alexis asked back unintentionally.
Fransisca laughed, saying, "You're surprised, aren't you?"
「It's something that would never have happened to a normal person. I'm aware of that. In the first place, the people of Sagrado would not be like that...」
Fransisca shook her head and continued, "But."
「That's our normal. When my grandfather... died, I saw it for the first time. It was death. But his death was a transformation into another form. When the doctor told him he was close to death, the knight rushed to him and scattered many of these stones that they brought from somewhere」
Fransisca showed him the pale stones she still had in her own hands.
「And when they did that, I was surprised that he was still alive. However, I asked my father why he would bury him in something so hard and cold while still suffering. Then my father said to me. "It was to at least keep the body from being taken away." At that time, I did not understand what he meant」
Fransisca seemed to remember that time and looked as if she was trying to hold back some bitterness.
Soon, however, she let out a small exhale and began to speak.
「My grandfather died under the cold stone. I thought it was a terrible thing to do. But when I blamed him, my father looked at me and then took me to the cemetery. He said, "You have the title of Princess-Maiden. You need to know this". I was very young at the time, but... many things were necessary for me to know」
Then, inside the cemetery, there were several magic circles made of the same stone her grandfather had buried at that time.
Those stones activate the magic of the same nature as that used by the ancient mage, and it is said that the magic circles contain them even now.
Apart from the coffins near the cemetery entrance, deformed figures lined up in a row in the back room. The deformed monsters were sleeping, surrounded by a magic circle.
「...Grandfather, he was fortunate. Before his death, he had the blessing of the stone so that his body was not taken away. But those who delayed it, even a little, turned into monsters as soon as they died... Even worse, they disappear from the world after their monsterization」
As Alexis falls silent, Fransisca lets out a sigh.
「At that time, I thought that was how death was supposed to be. But I soon learned that it is usually something completely different... It is a curse. A curse on the Sagrado royal family. And—」
Fransisca puts her hand on her chest and looks straight at Alexis, her eyes somewhat pained.
「What would you do if you knew that I was destined for that fate too?」
Fransisca looked into Alexis' eyes. As if searching for the truth. A pained yet forlorn expression on her face.
When Alexis saw this, he made up his mind.
「...So what? You want me to leave you alone? You don't want me to go any deeper?」
Fransisca gulped, and Alexis said, "You don't, do you?".
「You still want me to help you, don't you? You want me to accept you, don't you? You've got that look on your face, after all」
Fransisca covers her cheeks with her palms in a panic. However, this confirmed that Alexis' point was right on the mark.
「Your attitude is bad to begin with. Say it clearly. Tell me what you want me to do, or tell me what you really want me to do. Say it yourself」
Fransisca's gaze drifts.
But when she opened her mouth, she said.
「...I need your help. Alexis-sama, I need you... to help us」
Fransisca leans forward and stares into him with her amethyst eyes.
Fatima and even Valencia can be seen holding their breath.
Alexis put his hand on Fransisca's head gently.
「You said it well. Really, you're a real pain in the ass」
「B-Because... I'm dragging Alexis-sama into this... hwaa」
Alexis scratches her head roughly, and Fransisca shrugs and stops talking.
After patting her on the head, Alexis let out a sigh, "You know."
「I'm long past the point where I'm thinking about what's involved or not involved. I mean, I'm already involved in all of this. Including our whole kingdom」
Fransisca nodded and muttered "...I'm sorry," with a sullen look as if she thought it was right.
After looking at Fransisca, Alexis nodded, "Okay!".
「If you've decided, first of all, let's get this settled. I'll settle up with Aniki and obtain permission from my father. After that, we'll go to your father and tell him」
Fransisca nodded with a bright red face and then said in a muffled voice, "...Thank you very much". Apparently, she was embarrassed at this stage.
Alexis smiled bitterly.
However, Fransisca suddenly remembered something and said, "B-But...".
「I think it would be better if we saw my father first...」
「You're a pain in the ass!」
Alexis said so clearly that Fransisca could not stop talking.
After that, she complained to Fatima, who was nearby, "...Alexis-sama is so pushy, isn't he?" and Fatima smiled and said, "Yes, he is."
「Hey, you guys...」
"Who the hell do you think you're making this decision for?" The words almost come out of his throat.
「...Still, the order's the same, isn't it? I think I'll take care of your father first」
「Yes, that's right」
Fransisca nodded, her expression tightening.
「...That bracelet. Please take good care of it」
She said suddenly as she looked at the artifact bracelet that Alexis was still wearing.
「Don't forget it」
"What is it, out of the blue?" With this thought, Alexis touches the bracelet with his hand.
It has a cold, metallic texture but is somehow different from the metal he knows. It is a bracelet with a design that is decorated with fine patterns.
（...I guess I'll be able to hear the rest of the secrets after the Priest-King is defeated...）
Alexis' face tightens as he looks at the bracelet.
（...The rest of the secrets. After all these secrets, does that mean there's more to it than that...?）
Who are the Sagrado people?
What are they priests' people for, and why have they lived with strict commandments and rituals?
Alexis is now caught up in such everyday things that he had never paid attention to before.
Until the birth of Avalon, Fransisca had sung and danced every year as a Princess-Maiden. Many tourists flocked to Sagrado every year to watch the event, along with its unique scenery reminiscent of the ancient mage civilization.
Alexis thought it was a meaningless event.
It was just one of those daily events that were all over the place, and he even thought that the dance was just for show.
Fransisca was a princess and a priestess, a dancer and a singer.
Sacred, but with a secular side. In a sense, she was even recognized as one of the idols who had made a name for themselves in the world. He believes most people in the world must have thought so except for the Sagrado people.
（...Wasn't it just a spectacle? Wasn't it just another tourist attraction? Did it have a meaning? Did everything make sense?）
Alexis was deep in thought on the carriage on the way back.
Please bookmark this series and rate ☆☆☆☆☆ on the Novelupdates -> here!
Thanks for reading.
Thanks for reading.