BBYW Vol. 2 Chapter 40 (WN)
Chapter 40 – Tower of God
【POV: Cerros Baal】
“Hmm, one more day and they’ll fly the white flag, I guess. It all went pretty smooth, thanks to Captain Salazar being away.”
“Pretty frail, your capital..”
The Third Imperial Army and Huang Dynasty forces had surrounded the capital. Watching over them from the rear, I was leisurely having a cup of tea with Xiao Mao.
Three days had already passed since we started our siege. The Imperial Knights couldn’t put up much of a resistance, since their main force was away, so nothing stood in our way as our forces surrounded the capital. The morale of the soldiers still protecting the capital was rather low, so they were surely going to surrender soon.
“You surprised me, though. Since when did you want to be emperor?”
Xiao Mao looked genuinely puzzled.
Until now, I had spent most of my time in the eastern region of the empire, barely participating in the series of succession disputes. Yet now, I had come attacking the capital to snatch away the title — no wonder she was perplexed.
“Since never? I have no intention to become emperor, actually.”
I answered my retainer’s question with complete honesty.
“I never wanted to become emperor, and never will. But it doesn’t matter which of my two brothers, Lars and Grett, gets the throne — our future prospects are pitch black either way. In order to uphold my current lifestyle — good wine, pretty ladies and fun in general — I guess I have to become emperor and get rid of all the nuisances, see?”
“And so, you take it with brute force? Pretty drastic.”
“I wouldn’t have done this if those two didn’t show me an opening this big. Not only the First and Second Imperial Armies, but even the Imperial Knights are almost all out now! Seriously, it’s like they’re begging me to steal the throne.”
I honestly thought so. I didn’t know how badly they wanted to take down House Maxwell, but they should have left at least the Imperial Knights to protect the capital. They were the empire’s greatest defensive force, the last bastion.
Mobilizing them was like saying that the empire was finished. I bet no one in court really understood how much despair the capital people felt by seeing them leave.
(I did take advantage of this anxiety though, so I guess I’m not one to speak.)
“Gahahaha!! The central authorities are the same bastards everywhere! Always thinking they know everything while they manage colossal failures!”
The boastful interjection in our conversation came from Ragoh, general of the Huang western forces and my drinking buddy. Even now, he took a big swig from the jar he was holding and laughed heartily.
“They never think they might get involved in war, not until their own asses start burning. That’s why they can give ridiculous orders without thinking of the future! And us, the people on the field, are always the ones paying the price!”
“Right, right…I don’t know if the invading army won against House Maxwell, but those soldiers are pitiful too…”
“Damn straight! But more importantly, Cerros, you remember our promise, right?”
“Of course I do, Ragoh, my guy. I’m the kind of man who always keeps his word.”
The condition for the Huang forces to join this battle was a secret agreement between Ragoh and me: when he rebelled against Huang’s central government and declared the western region independent, the Baal Empire would provide support.
Ragoh himself used to serve in central Huang as a general, but he lost some petty political squabble and was demoted to the western regions. He deeply resented it, and was always looking for a chance to secede from Huang.
(Which would sit perfectly right by me. If Ragoh becomes king of an independent state made by Huang’s west region, we’d get a buffer zone between Baal and the rest of Huang. Our empire and the dynasty wouldn’t clash directly anymore.)
Cerros’ greatest concern in regards to becoming emperor was the weakening of the empire’s military power, which would undoubtedly invite foreign invasion.
The nomads in the north were kept out by Grett’s wall and the kingdom of Lamperouge was still in disarray due to the young king’s coronation. The Huang Dynasty — the last menace — splitting and falling into a civil war was the best development he could hope for.
“Friends are man’s greatest treasure, as they say. I feel so blessed!”
As I deeply appreciated the value of friendship, Ragoh laughed and took a swig, again, while Xiao sipped on her tea with a sigh.
A scene far too peaceful to belong on the battlefield — a discrepancy quickly rectified by a massive tremor.
The area around the capital was not prone to earthquakes; after the unprecedented shaking, I looked around and saw something incredible over the capital.
“What the hell is…that…?”
Beyond the walls surrounding the capital — right where the imperial court was located, now stood a gigantic tower — a tower that pierced the clouds higher with every tremor. We could only look up, speechless. Eventually, the earth settled down — and the tower was three times taller.
“…can it be…the Tower of Babel…Zeus…?”
Still dumbfounded, I whispered the tower’s name.