Today Sagrado was very lively.
The most important person in the kingdom was found to be pregnant with a child.
Thanks to this, the streets of the capital, overlooked by the castle of Sagrado, were filled with a festive atmosphere.
People on the street were congratulating each other, even though it was not about them.
And the capital of Sagrado is still a new town that has been restored after the disappearance of Avalon.
The townscape is a mixture of old and new, with a unique flavor, because it was restored with the scraps and debris returned from Avalon.
The castle of Sagrado itself was restored in the same way. Thus, the old white-walled castle, both old and new, is now the castle of Sagrado.
Because no heir has been born yet, there is no main cast of characters. Neither will there be a parade or an unveiling. However, for today, the people of the town were setting up stalls, flying special tapestries, and singing and dancing to convey their blessings to the court.
Among those who gazed at them with a melancholy look on their faces was the silver-haired queen, Fransisca Arias Sagrado.
Fransisca was dressed in a simple white one-piece dress and gazed down at the townscape from the window of her private room high up in the castle of Sagrado.
The dress is a custom-made one, without a corset and without tightening of the abdomen. Although it was not yet noticeable, her belly was gradually expanding.
In this condition, Fransisca is sitting in a chair by the window, flipping through papers.
"Your Highness," Sara called out.
Sara had grown up a lot in the last four years. Although she is still growing, her breasts are enlarged enough to be seen through her clothes, and she has already grown to be as tall as a small adult woman. She now wears a white robe over her priest's uniform, and holds a medical record in her hand.
「Are you working again? You are not even in the stable period yet. Please don't be too hard on yourself. You have Alex-kun's child in your belly. The future Princess-Maiden」
"Yes, but," Fransisca laughs vaguely.
「The reconstruction is not finished yet. Even so, the Priest-King has rituals to perform. Alexis-sama is also busy. I have to help him」
「Why don't you leave those things to Fatima-chan?」
Sara was in a bad mood. Because Fransisca looked pale.
She sometimes looks at the busy streets. Even in that moment, Sara can see that Fransisca is straining.
As her doctor, she should not neglect it.
「Your Highness, take a good rest. What's Fatima-chan for?」
「Well, Fatima is... yes, but...」
Fransisca puts her hand over her mouth as if she is in trouble.
Sara knew what her queen meant.
Fatima was originally Fransisca's personal maid and a high priestess of the Contesti family. From Sara's point of view, she is a very talented woman.
But it was only about half a year ago that she became the queen of Alexis Sheridan Sagrado.
At that time, the reaction of the priests was quite overwhelming. Even though Fransisca faced the brunt of it, it took a lot of effort to convince them.
Today, the population of Sagrado consists of half pure Sagradoans and the other half non-Sagradoans. One hundred percent of the current priests are pure Sagrado, and from their point of view, the new customs brought by Krangal - even though he is a savior - are not acceptable. They may not be convinced by the new customs brought by Krangal.
This kingdom is still in trouble.
「...Fatima-chan... will be all right.」
Sara was worried, even though she said so with her mouth.
Six months had passed, and still Fatima was unable to fulfill her role as a concubine.
She was still allowed to serve as a high priestess, or more specifically, to serve as Fransisca's maid, a role that was now removed from her.
「But still... well... I'm glad you feel that way. But...」
Fransisca was about to turn over the papers again, and Sara grabbed her hand to stop her.
「Just go to sleep. It's not good」
「But, Sara, you know what?」
Fransisca tilts her head in confusion.
Sara knows too well that although she is soft-spoken, she is stubborn.
「Oh, I understand. If Your Highness insists, I have a plan」
Early on, she gives up trying to persuade the queen head-on.
Fransisca's eyes widened.
* * *
Over his white priestly robe he wore a blue cloak and a jeweled circlet in his hair. Such was the Alexis of today. If he did not dress like that, the priests would be upset.
"Are you still the priest-king?", "Are you still the husband of the Princess-Maiden?", "Please act like a Priest-king."
That's what they're going to say.
Well, it sounds tedious. But that's the path Alexis chose. He had no complaints.
Now Alexis is visiting the forest behind the castle without Fransisca, who is pregnant.
There stands a ceremonial temple. It seems that it is the priest-king's job to make daily offerings to the temple and to recite the scriptures there.
Even though there is no need to pay heed to the moon-god nowadays, the custom of the Priest-King is still the same. Besides, if the custom is not practiced, the priests of Sagrado, and even the neighboring countries, do not look good.
Old national traditions that have lasted for thousands of years are still emphasized for the sake of maintaining authority even after they have been dismantled.
Alexis serves vegetables, fruits, and wine on the altar of the temple behind the high throne, and recites scripture while tracing a book. Behind him, under the throne, a group of stern-looking priests stand in a row.
All of them are wearing navy blue priestly robes. Fatima was among them.
（I wonder if Her Highness is all right...）
Fatima was thinking about such a thing as she waited for the priest-king's ceremony to be over.
Normally, Alexis' wife, the queen, would accompany him on this event. No, she was not obliged to do so, but at least Fransisca always accompanied her voluntarily to the throne and assisted Alexis in the ceremony.
However, since she has not been doing so well recently, Sara has stopped her since yesterday and she has been staying in her room.
But for Fatima, her presence with Alexis is not voluntary, as it is with Fransisca. Because Fatima is a high priestess, she is obliged to do so, just like the other priest who are with her now.
And now, Fatima's position is where the high priests are now. That's all it means.
Alexis, who had finished the scripture, suddenly put his hand out to the side.
He seemed to think that Fransisca would provide the tools, as she always does.
At this movement, one of the high priests coughed.
「...Your Majesty. The queen is not here」
Fatima, who was in the front row of the priests, pointed out the queen.
「Ah, yes, that's right.」
Alexis turned around and brushed his hair.
He looked like he had seriously forgotten about it.
「Well, the holy water is... oh, right. I'm supposed to mix this with this, right?」
Alexis stands in front of a plate of bottled water and small white sand crystals on a stone table in the corner of the altar.
As Alexis reaches for a spoon to scoop out the sand crystals, Fatima quickly speaks up.
「Alex... three times with the holy grass first...」
「Ah, sorry. I've been leaving it to Fransisca lately...」
Alexis' hand goes to the stalk of the grass called the holy grass.
But there was a cough from one of the priests, and Fatima realized her blunder.
「Umm... Your Majesty. Take three scoops of the crystals. Put them in the water and stir them 9 times this time」
The reluctant old priest beside Alexis nodded deeply.
Nowadays, Fatima had a hard time with the old priest. Of all the surviving priests, the old priest is the only one of higher rank than Fatima's. His name is Benedict, and he was not unknown to them. More importantly, he was not a bad match for her. Originally.
「...the Moon God has commanded that there be only one wife of the Priest-King. The king's mercy shall be his mercy and you shall pay your respects to the Priest-King」
Benedict spoke in a whisper as Alexis turned away.
「...Of course, he has no intention of doing so」
Without changing his expression, Fatima answered nonchalantly.
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