BBYW Vol. 3 Chapter 41 (WN)
Chapter 41 – Unchanged City, Changed People
The Garnet Kingdom was a small island state located on the eastern side of the Southern Archipelago.
Because of its trade and cultural exchanges with the Huang Dynasty, the country spanning the eastern side of the continent, the unique southern lifestyle of the island states in Garnet blended with Huang’s oriental culture.
In Garnet’s streets it was possible to find banners and boards both in southern alphabet and “Huanzi”, a type of characters developed in the Huang Dynasty territories.
The fashion style was equally diverse: one could find women exposing everything except chest and hips, as well as men wearing coats with long sleeves, hiding most of their skin from view.
“It’s a port town like Brutos, but the atmosphere is completely different. Pretty interesting, but…something feels off.”
I was looking down on the port while the ship was being anchored, and I couldn’t help but feel suspicious.
Garnet was supposed to have been invaded and turned into a colony, but the scenery from the port was bright and full of life.
The typical gloomy atmosphere of a defeated country was nowhere to be seen: the people seemed to be as peaceful as they could be.
There weren’t any signs of fighting or destruction on the buildings, so we even suspected we had arrived at the wrong port.
“In any case, we should gather information first. I will go first.”
“Right, take care.”
Sakuya was the first to leave the ship, and quickly disappeared among the crowds.
I watched my maid go, then went down myself, with Sue in tow.
“It’s almost disappointing, how easily we got in…anyway, what should we do now? Sue, can you show me around the area?”
“Ehm, I was entrusted to the monastery in this city, so I more or less know where the main buildings are. I have never been to the entertainment district, though…”
“I see. I guess we should take a look at that monastery first. Don’t you want to see what happened to it?”
“Oh, yes! Thank you very much!”
Sue’s expression brightened: there were probably people she wanted to meet there.
I smiled wryly and stepped into the city. Sue followed me giddily: she clearly hadn’t realized that, since we arrived in Garnet, there was no reason for her to be with me anymore.
The former slave children too followed suit and disembarked. Most of them were overjoyed, with some crying. Others ignored the sailors’ attempts to stop them and ran off towards the town.
“Master! This way! There’s a shortcut!”
“I got it, don’t run off on your own.”
Sue sprinted forward, blissfully unaware that we were in enemy territory, and I picked up the pace to follow her.
After about 30 minutes, we arrived in a quiet residential district.
The bustling atmosphere was no more: the air was calm and peaceful, almost still.
I followed Sue in the streets and alleys, and finally caught up with her.
“Hm? What’s wrong, are we lost?”
Sue suddenly stopped in her tracks, so I did the same.
She turned towards me, but her expression was twisted in a grimace, on the verge of tears.
“M…Master…the monastery…is gone.”
“It should have been here, but…maybe…they moved…?”
I followed Sue’s gaze, and found an empty lot in the middle of the residential district.
There were bits and pieces of wood and stone strewn all over the lot, probably the remains of furniture. There definitely was a building there, at least until recently.
“What…what could have happened…? Where did everyone go? Mother Mary…sister Reina? Everyone…? Eh…?”
“Calm down, Sue.”
I pulled the upset Sue close to my chest, caressing her bluish-black hair to calm her down.
She grabbed on my lapel, tight enough to scrunch it up, shaking faintly.
I gave a closer look at the surroundings and found something unusual. This was the only area completely deserted — not a soul to be seen.
We crossed a number of people as we advanced in the residential district, but as soon as we reached the (former) monastery, the place became unnaturally empty.
I could see people walking in the distance, but they all looked away from us, as if we had broken some kind of taboo.
I noticed that the wind was carrying a peculiar, nasty smell, and frowned.
I did not answer Sue, but grabbed her shoulders and gently broke our embrace.
We advanced further in the residential district, following the smell. As we did, the number of people we met became fewer and fewer.
Eventually, we turned a corner and arrived at the source.
Sue fell to her knees, sobbing.
In a square deep inside the district, we found the sisters’ crucified corpses.