BBYW Vol. 2 Chapter 48 (WN)
Chapter 48 – A Ravaged Capital
Looking up at the tower of Babel standing before us, our group of five swallowed our respective breaths.
“I see, this is definitely a god’s weapon of choice.”
“So this is…the legend…”
Rosselia and the other imperial natives were especially astonished: seeing a legendary tale come true before their eyes had left them almost starstruck.
I felt my share of surprise, of course, but there was something more concerning. Sakuya noticed the same and pulled my sleeve.
“Lord Dyngir, the capital is too quiet.”
“Yeah. Even if we’re at war, it can’t be this dead.”
We went from the back alley to the main street, but there was barely anyone around. I could tell there were people inside the buildings, but all windows were closed, all curtains pulled — at noon.
“I will go inspect the court. Please wait a moment.”
Sakuya then vanished.
In the meantime, I took a better look at the capital’s main road. Walking straight down the street supposedly led to the imperial court, but it was unnaturally empty. It felt like the whole city was suppressing its breath, its sounds — it was a funeral’s atmosphere.
“…it feels like this country is about to die. Not because it was destroyed by an enemy or an ally…but falling apart from the inside, like a rotten apple…”
I clenched my teeth.
It was my first visit to the capital, and I had no attachment to it, nor was it my duty to help.
As someone born in the same noble class, in charge of a province and its citizens, I couldn’t help but feel furious with Grett Baal, who let his own country spoil in such a way.
“The empire’s already over. What this country needs is not a savior of the people, but a judge and executioner.”
Rossellia came closer to me. I could have touched her angelic face just by stretching a hand.
“As the imperial princess, it probably is not my place to say such a thing…but…please, pass judgment on my brother, Grett Baal.”
“That’s what I came for.”
I forcefully embraced Rossellia. The beautiful princess fell into my arms without resistance.
“Princess! How shameful!”
“Oh please, try to read the mood…”
“My wonderful…Lord Dyngir…”
Estia and Shana both interjected, but Rossellia did not seem to notice: she pressed her face against my chest, an ecstatic look in her eyes.
I would have loved to enjoy the moment of bliss a little more, but it ended rather abruptly.
“I have returned, Lord Dyngir.”
Sakuya came back from her inspection of the court. Her expression was sterner than ever: clearly, she had no good news to bear.
“The court is in a terrible state. The gates are thrown open, with conscripted soldiers both inside and outside. It appears they have not been eating properly: some look starved, others are taking food by force from the capital citizens.”
“…this place is really off the deep end. Maybe they would have all starved to death, even if we didn’t come.”
“That is a possibility.”
I had no intention of letting the one responsible for ruining a country like this gets away with it by just starving to death, though. I had to properly make him understand what he did, and then deliver the judgment he deserved.
“In any case, it would be difficult to enter the court from the front. Despite their quality, the quantity of troops is too large.”
Half dead soldiers wouldn’t be able to stop us, but, if we caused a commotion, thunder might start raining from above.
I had not seen Zeus’ power with my own eyes, but it was the empire’s last resort: I could not afford to underestimate it.
“We should use the secret passage, then.”
Rossellia lifted her head from my chest and proposed an alternative.
“There is a secret passage in court, to let the imperial family escape in case of emergency. Only the imperial family knows about it, so there shouldn’t be any guards.”
A passage only the imperial family knew about…meant that Grett Baal should know about it. Too. I doubt he would ever think Rossellia might return of her own free will, so it was likely to be left unguarded.
“Let’s use that to get in, then. Lead the way.”
I followed Rossellia through the capital. We managed to reach our destination without encountering even one person: the capital had become a true ghost town.