nd laundry that people had used, but no actual people were visible anywhere in the village.
The attack would have left bloodstains, but all Evan could see were footprints and bizarre painting.
The only traces of the painting, which had half disappeared, were the only traces that caught Evan’s gaze at this point.
Haas, who was standing beside Evan, looking at the pattern on the floor, asked him, looking at his own brother.
“Can you tell what the painting is about, brother?”
“It’s a freshly painted pattern.
There is probably only one possibility.”
“You can see a pattern that looks like a sculpture of an altar and ancient writing that surrounds it.
Perhaps the nature of this painting is…”
An altar for performing rituals
Despite Evan’s slurring of the last word, Haas could not fail to understand its meaning.
Nowadays, there aren’t that many places left that use ancient letters.
At best, the letters were worthy of being handled by wizards exploring the six temples and ancient ruins of Crossbridge.
This is because the altar is a geometrically shaped form that has been stylized with such ancient script.
As it was not a style used in temples in the Holy Land, there was only one fact that Evan could deduce.
“…It’s an altar.”
“It’s also an altar prepared for an evil god.”
Worshippers of evil gods who reject the rules of the Six Temples.
It was an altar they built to trade with the evil gods.
There were clear differences between the style of altar used for rituals in the Holy Land.
What would have been difficult for others to distinguish was clear to the eyes of Evan, the Inquisitor of the Holy Land.
While Evan was bent low, looking at the patterns on the floor, he gasped.
This was an altar where the ritual had already been performed once.
It looks like Evil God’s servants had succeeded in restoring the altar to perfection.
(The records concerning the altar of the Evil God were supposed to have been completely destroyed in an earlier war…)
The history of the fierce war flashed through Evan’s mind.
In the past, the Holy Land had fought against the cult of the Evil Gods while suffering enormous damage.
It was only possible because of the sacrifices of the heroes and deeds of paladins.
The appearance of an evil god who disturbs the world is always accompanied by the emergence of a chosen hero.
The common opinion in the Holy Land was that there was still time for the forces of the evil gods to move decisively, as the next generation of heroes had yet to emerge.
However, what now existed before Evan’s eyes was the altar of the Evil God, both in name and in reality.
An evil god already exerts a covert influence on this world.
What this meant was simple.
Soon a chosen hero would appear with the oracle in the six temples.
“You mentioned the Evil God?”
“Yes, I did.
I am sure.”
“So all the speculation up to now has been true.”
“It will come to that.
You spotted the signs of an evil god earlier than you thought.”
Haas’s complexion darkened when he heard Evan’s words.
It was a completely different story to vaguely guess the contents and to accept them as fact.
An evil god threatening the continent.
It was a very serious matter for Haas, who lost one of his men in order to collect the evidence.
“The news of an evil god’s appearance upon the continent means…”
“Soon a hero will appear.
It’s going to be hectic in the Holy Land for a while.”
When the shadow of an evil god falls on this world, heroes inevitably emerge.
This was an immutable law that never changed.
The gods of the Six Temples would not sit by and watch their order breaking down.
Even if the order was slightly changed, what was to happen would always happen.
Especially if that opponent was an evil god aiming at this world.
Having found evidence of an evil god, it was Evan’s turn to report back to the Holy Land.
Evan fixed the sword on his waist and then gripped the reins of his horse, which he had tied nearby.
“Shall we go back to headquarters together? Once I’ve finished reporting to the branch commander, I’m going to bring my men with me for subjugation.”
“No, just hold off for the moment.”
“There’s a risk that it might provoke them unnecessarily and they might hide where we can’t find them.”
“Don’t tell me you don’t believe in Cloud’s war potential, brother?”
The Cloud is the executive body responsible for the security of the Empire.
When opinions of distrust of Cloud emerged within the Empire’s territory, Haas gave Evan a dissatisfied stare.
Evan, however, shook his head and denied Haas’ words.
“It is not that.
Rather, I say that this situation could be an opportunity.”
“What do you mean by opportunity?”
“The enemy has not yet grown to its full potential.
I’m talking about the fact that, once thorough preparations have been completed, it may be possible to defeat them without significant damage.”
He was able to successfully discover traces of the cult before the oracle.
In a way, this meant that the enemy’s forces had not yet taken proper root.
It is a cult of evil gods that has not yet fully grown.
If we were lucky, it was something we might be able to nip in the bud at once.
And as soon as the heroes emerged, they might succeed in defeating the cult.
And that required thorough preparation.
Very thorough preparation, never allowing for second chances.
“The Empire’s forces will work together to defeat them.
When the time comes, you will be part of the battle.”
“Then… I will listen to the advice of you, brother.”
For the time being, focus only on finding out what the enemy is up to.
This is a request I can only pass on to you, brother.”
“If that is the intention of you brother.”
After the conversation, Evan mounted his horse and took hold of the reins.
Now that he had discovered the traces of the evil god, Evan had a lot of work to do in the Holy Land.
Realizing that it would be hard to go on holiday for the time being, Evan signaled to the horse he was riding.
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