BBYW Vol. 2 Chapter 49 (WN)
Chapter 49 – Home Visit…to the Imperial Court
“The secret passage is down here, but…”
Rossellia led us to an old well located in the outskirts of the capital. All the buildings around it seemed abandoned for years: the area was likely to be poorly frequented long before the capital turned into a ghost town.
“I see, a perfect place to hide something, that’s for sure.”
I nodded and was the first to start climbing down the well. It was not very deep and already completely dry. Moving a rock next to the wall at the bottom revealed a passage.
I waited for my four companions to come down, then stepped inside the passage. After about 30 minutes in the narrow passageway, we ran into a wall.
“Please search the ceiling, there should be a handle.”
“Yeah, found it.”
I shone my lamp on the ceiling and soon enough found a C-shaped handle. I slid it to the side and light seeped in the dark corridor.
“Oof, step back. I’ll get rid of the dust.”
I wiped away the dust, soot and cobwebs falling together with the light, then climbed through the opening and found myself pop up from a fireplace.
“This is the study father used. No one should have come in here after his death.”
“Yeah, looks like it’s empty. You can all come out.”
“Yes, pardon me…”
I took Rossellia’s hand and pulled her up. The other three, adventurer, assassin and knight, did not need any assistance.
The masterless study was still and silent. Even the books, neatly lined in their shelves, gave off an air of loneliness.
Rossellia gazed at the room in melancholy for a few moments, then spoke.
“Zeus was supposed to be sealed in the imperial mausoleum. It is very close to this room, actually. Shall we go?”
“Lead the way, Rossellia.”
Rossellia nodded enthusiastically and started guiding us. While following her, I paid close attention to any presence nearby.
“…it’s so quiet.”
An imperial court of that size should have been teeming with servants. Yet we did not encounter a single soul.
“Those with enough sense have already left the capital. The people remaining here are either extremely loyal to the empire family or have nowhere else to go.”
Sakuya answered my doubts.
Even those working at court had abandoned the capital and Grett. Even after becoming the de facto sovereign of this palace, did he not think anything of it?
“This country really has one foot in the grave…what are the imperial knights doing?”
“Rajang Salazar has not returned yet from Fort Bryden. He apparently keeps delaying their return, for various reasons.”
“Hmm, that is a relief. I wouldn’t have enjoyed dueling my father to the death.”
Shana sighed in relief at Sakuya’s explanation. As it turns out, even that beautiful battle junkie of mine would hesitate to fight her father.
“I haven’t shown him the face of his grandchild, as promised, after all. I can’t kill him before I do.”
“…don’t kill him after keeping the promise either. Patricide is one of the worst sins you could commit.”
“Hm, is that so? I always thought a parent would be overjoyed to see their children surpass them.”
Shana seemed sincerely unconvinced, to my dismay. I let the topic go as we proceeded towards our destination. At the end of a corridor lined with imposing marble columns we found a large door.
“Here, this is the mausoleum…or at least, it was supposed to be.”
The unspeakable view before the door left Rossellia speechless. Estia too swallowed her breath, incapable of uttering a sound.
The imperial mausoleum, which hosted the tombs of all past emperors, had turned into a mountain of rubble and debris, which surrounded a gigantic building.
“So this is the entrance to the tower of Babel? Just like a damn monster lair.”
I smiled wryly at the tower’s gate, which was twice my height. Beyond the gate, at the top of the tower, awaited the enemy.
“Time for judgment, Grett Baal. You better start preparing your flimsy neck.”