Translator: Kell | Editor: Ryunakama
Slipping Through Security
I maintained the same position for so long that I even lost my sense of time. Then all of a sudden, movement from the forest.
「We will now begin preparations for the ritual! I need status report on security!」
「Area one, clear!」
「Area two, clear!」
「Mana Detection rod, clear!」
Guards gave their reports. It seems they didn’t notice my infiltration.
The sun was starting to go down. There should be less than thirty minutes before the sun is completely set. To reduce idle time from when the slave was brought in and the actual start of the ritual, they probably didn’t make arrangements until the last minute.
「No problems whatsoever. Now for the final check!」
The guards started checking the surroundings. From the roots of a tree to behind a small bush, they peeped into every place where a person could hide. There were probably about a hundred of them. A few of them were clearly in a whole different league.
The way they moved, their posture, making sure they could immediately react to any enemy attack – one look and I can tell they were way stronger than the other men.
I can’t see the tattoos through their clothes, but they’re probably members of the Garden of Despair. It looks like they’re the ones managing the Mana Detection rod as well. Then one man started walking in my direction. A Garden of Despair member.
Maintaining my position, I held my breath. The lesser the body movement, the more effective the Mana Invisibility.
I shouldn’t be spotted by the naked eye or with magic, but if they actually touch me, I’m screwed. If the guy keeps on walking straight, he will trip over me. Nothing else to do, I simply kept my posture, praying that the man changed direction on the way.
But still he continued on as though he noticed me. Less than thirty centimeters away, he stopped.
The guard took a peek behind a bush before turning back the way he came.
Phew. That was close.
It wasn’t just a coincidence that he turned back. I chose this spot specifically, taking the bushes in the surroundings into consideration. I made sure that even if they checked around the bushes, they wouldn’t pass by me.
Still that was a bit too close just now. They wouldn’t stumble upon me if they were efficient in searching for intruders. If the guard walked around in random directions, nowhere in the entire forest would be safe.
In that sense, I was lucky that it was a Garden of Despair that came to check the area near me. A normal guard would’ve searched at random and could’ve spotted me.
「We’re done checking. All clear. Get in your positions!」
The men formed a security perimeter surrounding the altar and watched the surroundings. The perimeter was quite wide. From the altar, you couldn’t see where it ended.
Conversely, you wouldn’t be able to see the altar from the outside. They’re probably taking cautions against someone possibly recording what happens at the altar.
Then a priest appeared and walked to the altar. He was a huge man, about two meters tall, with a black cloth covering his entire body. His face was also hidden and I couldn’t see his expression.
The priest sat in front of the altar.
「Bring the sacrifice here.」he ordered a man nearby.
「Right away.」the man replied and disappeared into the forest.
After a while, he brought a man tied in a rope. He had a heinous face with scars all over his body. It must be the criminal slave who will be sacrificed today.
「Hey, what are you doing?! Don’t you know who I am?! I’m the great bandit Gelgiar! I killed over a hundred knights in Balzus! Don’t get too cocky or I’ll―」
It looked like he was beaten up pretty badly until they brought him. Blood was dripping down his face. But he still had the energy, thrashing around, trying to get out of the ropes.
「Silence him.」the priest ordered, not even sparing a glance at the slave.
A guard hit the back of the man’s head with a club. With a dull sound, the slave collapsed on the ground.