After a long time, Alexis sees the jet black leading to Avalon from a close distance again. It appears to him as a tremendously huge and ominous sight.
Although the area has narrowed considerably, it still covers the center of Sagrado, and the deep, dark color looms over the area like a vast wall.
After seeing this, Alexis opened his mouth as he saw Fransisca, Valencia, Fatima, and Sara behind him, all fully equipped and ready to go.
「—Okay, let's go」
""Yes!"" everyone nodded with a tightened expression.
* * *
The true core of Avalon—it was as if in an ancient ruin.
The landscape, which resembles an ancient forest with moss-covered trunks of giant trees, seems to stretch out endlessly, but it is blocked on all sides by grey stone walls with trunks buried in the ground.
Looking upward, there is no ceiling but a swirling jet-blackness far above. Despite the blackness, the sky radiates a colorless light that clarifies the view.
In the center was a temple-like structure.
And a series of stone pillars on a stone floor supported a stone ceiling.
In the back was a throne. There, an old man in a long blue-purple robe sits quietly.
Without a doubt, he is aware of them. But he does not move.
So, for a while, Alexis and the others stood there silent, looking on the alert.
Eventually, however, Fransisca's eyes alerted them.
Alexis finally felt ready to step forward.
If he had heard true, the old man sitting on the throne was a God. —If that is the case, it is common courtesy for them to walk up to him since they have a business to attend to.
「...First, Fransisca and I will go. You guys wait here」
Alexis stepped forward.
Then someone pulled Alexis' arm. It was Valencia.
「Is... Is it okay? Alexis-sama...」
Her instinct as a knight must have made her intuitively know that she was dealing with someone of mysterious power. Her face is pale.
But then Fransisca put her hand on Valencia's shoulder and shook her head. Valencia also followed Fransisca's lead.
Then, Fransisca stepped out the same way as Alexis.
Alexis and Fransisca looked at each other, nodded, and finally walked toward the temple's throne.
They walk up a short flight of stone steps connecting the mossy soil to the temple's floor.
The old man rests his hand on the elbow rest of the throne and taps it with his knuckled fingers.
In his left hand, he holds a staff made of black branches, perhaps two meters long, and slowly waves it in a small motion.
Attached to the end of the staff is a horned skeleton. It is neither the skull of a man nor that of a beast. The most appropriate term would be the skull of a "Monster of Avalon".
Its eyes are so dark that it is difficult to look into them, but it gives an illusion as if it is staring at them.
Still, Alexis and Fransisca walk along the stone floor and finally stop in front of the old man.
The distance between them was less than two meters.
「...Welcome, child of Gorlois!」
The old man spoke to Fransisca suddenly. His voice is surprisingly firm and human.
With amethyst eyes and wagging white eyebrows, the old man smiled with wrinkles deeply etched on his cheeks.
Fransisca's eyes widen in surprise, and the old man continues to talk.
「I never thought that 'weak child' would come this far. I have been watching what you have done in Avalon」
The old man's eyes then turned lazily to Alexis.
「...And you brought my child here. It seems you have given your strength to my weak child. I'll give you credit for that」
"Your child?" Alexis asks back.
Seeing no hostility or harm, Alexis decides to treat the old man in front of him with respect.
He kneels down and speaks to him as if he were addressing a king.
「...I have heard that your body is Gorlois. But you yourself are not an ancestor」
「Well, an outsider. You know him well」
「I am no longer an outsider. I am the new king of Sagrado」
Alexis answered, "So, I beg you to calm your anger and close the Avalon for the sake of the new king."
The old man chuckled.
「Do you even know who I am?」
「...You are the Moon God. And the God of the Dead」
Alexis responded, and this time the old man let out a laugh.
It was a guttural, unpleasant sound as if he had scratched a tree trunk. He laughed for a while and then said, "—Then".
「You must understand why Avalon is here now, don't you? Then the answer is no. I have no reason to care about you」
Alexis clenched his fists with her hands on the floor.
「...With all my strength, then?」
「What can you do to me as a human being?」
Alexis stood up.
「I know. I know that God can't interfere in this world without a body and that possession of a body is brought about by the same principle as magic」
「Knowing that, so what?」
The old man is still smiling. Maybe he is trying to say that he can afford it.
Alexis gritted his teeth.
If only there was a Cup of Dispel here—no, but... What difference does it make if he doesn't have it here? Even God could not see through the things they brought from the outside, right? It should be enough for a bluff.
「The cup of dispel」
Alexis mentioned the name.
At that moment, the old man's face changes.
「I see... You...」
The old man gripped the armrest tightly with his hand on it.
「I know that old tool. It's disgusting. Yes, it's disgusting.」
The old man stood up slowly.
Fransisca saw his aura of displeasure and moved back a little behind Alexis.
「...—The ancient mages... Why did they create so many tools to annoy the Gods? Like this Avalon! That is why it was right that it perished. That magical civilization was destined to perish」
The ancient magical civilization and the ancient mages must have been a threat to the authority of God.
It is not difficult to imagine that they were relieved by the fact that they were doomed to destruction by the great binding magic of Avalon.
「The descendants of Gorlois have restored the authority and faith of the gods. So I have forgiven you for destroying the order of the underworld by Avalon. Not only that, I gave you special blessings and the title of a king...」
The old man struck the bottom of his staff and spat, "But traitor!"
「Are you betraying my authority? Will you abandon your faith? Human beings must continue to have their faith tested by God. They were born to kneel to God! If they do not, they must perish here and now!」
Again he strikes the bottom of his staff.
「And the world will be black again! But at that time, human beings will look up to God, and my faith will be restored to the whole world!」
Once more, the old man strikes his staff, and the pupils of his head begin to glow a bright red light.
Alexis rushes to his shield, protecting Fransisca on his back, and shouts, "Nonsense!"
「Aren't you afraid of the cup of dispel?」
「Yes, I'm afraid. It's terrifying!」
The old man shouts, and Alexis scowls at him, "If so..!"
But instead of being afraid, he is smiling, his mouth twisted into a grim smile.
「That tool is the most terrible thing I've ever seen... but that's exactly why!」
The old man flips his right hand, pulls up his robe, and pulls out a hidden tool.
「I will have it first when Avalon swallows it all!」
In his hand was a silver cup. The cup was filled to the brim with pure white light.
Alexis was astonished.
（That's the Cup of Dispel...!）
No wonder he could not find it even if he looked for it.
After all, the artifact has been in the hands of God himself from the beginning.
The old man wields his staff.
A reddish-black gust of wind blows with a fierce bass sound similar to an explosion.
Alexis holds up his shield to block it. The wind has a searing heat, but it can be withstood through the shield.
"Nuh," muttered the old man, raising his eyebrows.
「...Let's do this」
Alexis murmurs and picks up the spear-sword on his back.
Fransisca looks shocked.
She is not alone. The others who were watching from afar did the same.
Even Alexis doesn't think things aren't bad.
—This is definitely the worst.
「We have to do it... We must do it!」
Alexis pointed his spear sword at God.
「We've come this far! We have to fight and win!」
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