There was a carriage in front of the fortress, and Valencia in white armor was sitting on the coachman's platform. She was dressed as she usually was on her way to Avalon.
And the carriage was the same as usual, just a cart tied to a horse.
「Normally, a wedding is supposed to be extravagant... but not for Sagrado...」
This is what Fransisca and Fatima said to Alexis as they rode on the back of the cart.
Alexis himself is dressed as he usually is. Although he is not armed as he would be in a dungeon, he has hung a broadsword just in case.
「Ah, you are coming with us, Eden-san, aren't you?」
Valencia looked relieved when she saw Eden's figure as she turned from the platform.
「I was worried that I was the only one to escort you on the way. No, of course, I'm not without confidence in my ability to protect Her Highness. But, there is no reason not to have more than one of us to protect」
Eden nodded silently.
From Valencia's appearance, the group must be heading for a relatively distant place.
In fact, Sagrado has become a paradise for bandits and wild animals.
As one would expect, there is no nest of the kind of people who would hunt them down. This is probably due to the fact that there are few passers-by other than soldiers.
However, it seems that the area is sometimes designated as bandits' stronghold. This is the case as soon as the area of the jet black becomes narrower. And this, too, Alexis thinks, will have to be dealt with once the situation settles down.
Now, on the carriage, Alexis asks Fransisca about their destination.
"The royal cemetery," Fransisca replied.
The moment Alexis heard this, he remembered something unpleasant.
How could he forget? He had been there once before on business.
（That place where the monster sleeps will be the site of the wedding...?）
Alexis was silent at the image of Sagrado, which was finally leaving its holiness.
* * *
Alexis was again in a remote, white-walled place, tucked away in the forest.
As had Alexis before, Eden was also allowed to enter beyond the white walls after Fransisca, Fatima, and Valencia discussed the matter.
「Actually, it's supposed to be done in a more crowded place. And there are more than a dozen knights, the Senate, and the high priests」
With these words, Fransisca moves forward to the end of the sanctuary.
Fatima leads the way. She is taking the place of the Senate because of the lack of manpower.
When they arrive at the stone door of the cemetery, they tell Eden to wait for them, and Fransisca, Fatima, Valencia, and Alexis enter the interior of the cemetery.
At last, Alexis is allowed to enter inside Sagrado's secret.
The interior of the square, the box-like structure, was a single big room, like a stone temple supported by stone pillars at the four corners.
The room was dark because there was not a single window, but in the hollows of the eight walls, round glowing stones like artifacts were placed on a cup, which illuminated the whole room.
These stones were mysteriously turned off when the door was open and turned on as soon as the door was closed.
In the center of the room was a raised table carved out of stone with two chairs between it.
In one corner of the room was a waist-high stone bookcase filled with old books.
That is all there is in this room. There seems to be a staircase leading to the basement at the back of the room. Perhaps there is a coffin or a monster at the end of the staircase.
As soon as the door is closed, Valencia and Fransisca stop.
Fatima walks alone to the center of the room, which is a step higher than the others.
When Fatima stood in front of the table, she picked up a silver knife that was on the table.
"...Knife?" Alexis wondered, and Fransisca smiled at him and whispered, "Let's go."
Alexis nods and goes with Fransisca to the place where Fatima is waiting.
This is hardly what one would call a wedding ceremony. At least that's what it feels like to Alexis. There is no mood of celebration here, no bickering bride and groom.
As he went near the table, he noticed a white cloth and two silver cups.
Fatima motioned for them to sit on chairs, so Alexis and Fransisca sat down on chairs across the table.
Then, with a knife in her right hand and a book in her left, Fatima began to recite what seemed to be a prayer.
The words themselves were so old that it was difficult to make out what she was saying. Alexis himself is not an illiterate person by any means, but the language she was using was still surprisingly old-fashioned.
It must have been from the time of the ancient magical civilization—But sometimes, there were words mixed in that could be made out.
Words like "contract," "mission," "god and messenger," and so on are mixed in.
Alexis remembered that Sagrado is a religious state.
（Maybe this is some kind of ceremony to make me a priest...?）
He doesn't even know what god the Sagradoans believe in. He wonders if he will be able to do it right.
But when Sara's face comes to mind, he thinks, "...well, I'll manage, I guess...".
Fatima seemed to have finished reading the passage and closed the book.
She instructed them to hold the cup in their right hand, which they did.
Then, when asked to raise their left arm above the cup, Alexis followed Fransisca's example.
"Don't be surprised, and keep quiet," said Fatima in a whisper.
While Alexis wondered what she was talking about, she used the knife still in her hand to make a wound on each of Alexis' and Fransisca's palms.
It is impossible not to be surprised. Alexis's eyes widen, and he barely manages to keep his voice down.
As Alexis' eyes widened, he saw his blood pooling in the cup.
Fatima quickly put a piece of silk cloth in the palm of each of their wounded hands, which seemed to stop the bleeding for the time being, but the blood remained in the cup.
In front of him, Fransisca, who had also filled her cup with her own blood, held it out to Alexis as if it were a matter of course.
"What?" When Alexis let out an involuntary sound, Fransisca silently shook her head and urged him not to speak.
Alexis had no choice but to keep his mouth shut and, following Fatima's gesture, handed his cup to Fransisca, who also accepted hers.
Seeing this, Alexis was surprised, and he looked back at Fatima, but she urged him with her eyes.
Alexis had no choice but to drink Fransisca's blood.
He wished he could say that the blood of a beautiful girl is rich and tasty, but unfortunately, that is not the case. That would make him a vampire or a pervert. Alexis, of course, has no such propensity. Nothing but the taste of bloody iron fills his mouth, and a bad feeling comes up through his nose.
From then on, no one said a word.
Following Fransisca, who turned the empty cup over and placed it on the table without making a sound, Alexis did the same.
After that, they left the cemetery silently and quietly.
And Valencia closed the stone door without saying a word.
This was the Sagrado wedding ceremony.
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