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Chapter 140: The Sage Visits the Ritual Location
A few days later, I went to the Holy Scepter Kingdom with Logan.
One of our spies had found the place where the ritual magic had been performed.
Our goal was to destroy the site and collect information.
As expected, I couldn’t impose on the spy that much.
Even with this task of looking for the ritual ground, they had proceeded to get results despite the danger.
From here on, it would be my role.
Our transfer destination was a cave hidden in the forest, located at the outskirts of the Holy Scepter Kingdom.
There were no towns or villages nearby.
It was a place where unrelated people wouldn’t likely go to, unless it was due to sheer coincidence.
We had already applied concealment magic as we stood in front of the cave.
To start with, I used perception magic to explore the interior of the cave.
On the way, Logan asked me.
“How is it?”
“I can’t feel any life reaction.”
I shook my head as I responded.
It was the same regardless of how many times I checked.
It didn’t seem to be hidden using concealment magic either.
Logan glared at the cave in suspicion.
“Was the spy’s information wrong?”
“No, I don’t think so. Instead, there are countless corpses inside.”
Logan’s eyes became sharp.
As a result of magic analysis, I was able to know that fact.
There was no doubt that there were multiple corpses inside.
We would be able to find some details if we were to inspect it directly.
“I don’t understand the situation, but it’ll be better to be careful.”
I activated the necessary magic in order.
It was to prepare for countermeasures against anything that might take place.
As we progressed into the cave, I instructed Logan.
“I’ll take the lead. I’m leaving my back to you.”
We stepped into the cave.
The interior was dim, and gave the impression that it was naturally made at a glance.
However, there were various kinds of magic spread all over the place.
It was quite secure for a defense.
If somebody who knew nothing about it entered, they would be dead in no time.
We proceeded as I dispelled them.
It wasn’t a difficult task.
They were all textbook-like spells, something I was already tired of seeing.
In case they did get activated, it still wouldn’t be a problem for me and Logan.
As we proceeded, we eventually reached the innermost part of the cave.
The end was a rock wall.
There was water dripping from the ceiling.
Logan touched the corner of the wall and muttered while looking around.
“A secret passage, huh. What a typical structure.”
He put his hand on one side of the wall and pushed it in slowly.
That part of the wall sunk, and the sound of something working from the inside could be heard.
Logan moved away then pushed another spot.
He repeated such actions about ten times without stopping.
Then, the rock wall that had first blocked us rose, revealing a passage that could lead us further deep.
From that point forward, it was an artificially-made structure.
As I watched the series of events, I praised Logan.
“As expected of you. It seems your intuition for exploration hasn’t diminished yet.”
The order of operation was important in that gimmick earlier.
If you were to make a mistake even once, a trap would be activated.
Logan had recognized the structure with just a little observation.
Even an expert wouldn’t have been as good as he was.
However, Logan started to frown because of what he heard.
He was a little moody as he said.
“Don’t treat me like an elder. By the elves’ standards, I’m still considered young.”
Logan seemed to be concerned about his age.
It was a little unexpected of him.
I had thought that he didn’t care about such a thing.
I was also at fault for saying it without considering much.
I would be more careful from now on.
After that, we walked through the corridor.
The structure that was built deep inside the cave was a vast magic workshop.
We proceeded with caution.
“It’s a very elaborate construction. It seems they were very enthusiastic about it. I can see some signs of dead spirits. It seems various forbidden spells were committed here.”
Logan gave his opinion.
This was the reason why I had asked him to accompany me.
I had wanted him to give me a different perspective from mine on spirit related stuff.
Although I didn’t exactly tell him about it, Logan seemed to be aware of his role.
In various parts of the workshop, corpses were scattered about.
Parts of their bodies were largely missing or twisted about.
If they were killed due to the use of a weapon, they wouldn’t have died in this way.
It was a killing method that was rarely seen.
In addition, each room had been relentlessly destroyed.
Even the documents that seemed to have been stored once were obliterated.
We found the plaza where the ritual magic had been performed, but there were no clues left behind.
Although there were some good tools there, all of them had been destroyed and none of them were functioning.
Something had happened here.
Although such a thing was being hinted at, there was no related evidence.
We continued to search despite that.
After going around, I asked Logan.
“Is it possible to find something suspicious through the use of spirit magic?”
Logan focused his consciousness.
After a bit of silence, he shook his head.
“No good. Everything has been obliterated. It’s very unnatural to have no evidence at all. It seems the person who did all this didn’t want to be snooped on.”
I had the same opinion as Logan.
Considering the state of the corpses, this slaughter had happened in less than a day.
Perhaps the culprit had detected our visit and went ahead to destroy it.
“Dwight, do you know anything?”
“There’s just one thing that is clear.”
I pointed at the corner of the room.
A big hole had been opened there.
There should have been some sort of spell engraved there originally, but it had been completely scrapped off.
If you were to look closely, there were unnatural twists on the hole.
It was the same kind of twist that could be found elsewhere in the workshop.
There were many of them; it would be a waste of time counting them.
I pointed that out as I talked.
“That’s the trace of space manipulation. The person who destroyed this place must be a user of space magic. And he must be someone who is very capable at it.”
“So the culprit is…”
“It’s the demigod. Before we visited here, he destroyed everything to obliterate all evidence.”
I confirmed that.
That was almost a certain fact.
Things like infiltrating tightly guarded magic workshops, killing everyone inside and obliterating all evidence wasn’t something that could be achieved by an ordinary person.
In the first place, the secret passage in the cave hadn’t been activated.
It was because the demigod could transfer to ignore that passage and directly intrude this place.
“I think the demigod is one of the Heralds who were produced by ritual magic. There is no point visiting this place unless he was related to it.”
Or perhaps there was a third party with other, clear motives doing so, but I couldn’t declare it yet.
Contrary to the tragedy inside the workshop, everything felt vague.
The demigod’s intention remained unclear.
The only thing I could say was I could no longer gather information here.
Although it wasn’t a waste of a visit, the information I had gotten was less than I had expected.
We were one step behind, and the demigod was slightly better.
At that time, a telepathic message echoed in my head.
“Demon Lord-sama, can you hear me?”
It was Luciana.
She spoke in a slightly urgent tone.
I responded to her, while having a bad feeling about it.
“I can hear you. What is it?”
“The army led by the Valkyrie is on the move … It seems they are aiming for the Valley of the Dead.”
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