BBYW Vol. 4 Chapter 21 (WN)

Chapter 21 – The Western Capital

The following morning, after paying the toll and crossing the checkpoint, Oboro and I parted ways.

“I’ll head to Thebes and meet with Margrave Sphinx, then. You continue gathering information.”

“Very well, young master.”

“Not only about the “Terror Armies”, but also about the nobles opposing House Sphinx.”

“Hm? Is there any relation?”

“There might be.”

I nodded at Oboro’s question.

“It really seems that this wasn’t just an invasion by a foreign enemy. I feel there’s a conspiracy…someone plotting behind the scenes. I want to get rid of those rats too, together with the undead.”

“I see, I understand. Plotting and conspiracies are our specialty, after all!”

Oboro  — now disguised as an old woman — nodded with conviction and vanished in the direction of the town next to the checkpoint. I, on the other hand, passed the town and proceeded straight for Thebes.

“All right then…I’m counting on you today too, buddy.”


I patted my steed’s black mane, which responded with good enthusiasm. It was already the third day of our mad march, but he continued to dash west, without a complaint.

As we proceeded, the scenery gradually changed: trees and plants became more sparse, while short-sized shrubs and vegetation increased in number.

At the same time, the sunlight became more fierce, and I had to wipe the sweat from my forehead more often.

Along the way, we stopped for one night, and arrived at Thebes at around noon of the following day.

“Well, this sure is something…”

I was honestly impressed by the sight of the capital.

The city was built alongside a lake, towering like a mountain.

Brown buildings dotted the hills near the lake, almost seamlessly: from below, it looked more like a castle than a mere town.

The buildings had hole-like windows, beyond which I could catch glimpses of the inhabitants. There were ropes hanging between the buildings here and there, used for hanging clothes.

The sand-colored walls, built with materials different from the bricks I was used to, showed intricate engravings, weathered by the wind and sand, as if showing the long history of the settlement.

The exotic sight took my breath for a minute, then I headed for the castle gates.

I passed the eastern gate into the city, where a nominal was performed. Because of the threat pressing closer from the west, very few people entered the city anymore. I didn’t have to wait long before I was the next in line.

“A traveler at a time like this? For what purpose are you here?”

“I’m a mercenary. I heard there’s a big battle coming up soon, so I came to get hired.”

“Ooh, we couldn’t ask for more! You can pass!”

The soldier in charge quickly jotted some lines on the papers and let me through.

As it turns out, they were instructed by House Sphinx to let mercenaries and adventurers inside immediately. It would have been a pain to waste time just to enter the city, so I was pretty thankful for the special treatment.

It was my first time in Thebes: in the city, there were ancient-looking sculptures and bronze statues standing here and there. They mainly depicted heroic swordsmen and lions baring their fangs, as well as mythical creatures.

I could see some stalls and kiosks along the streets, but the city was almost unnaturally deserted. I palmed a silver coin to the owner of a fruit stall and asked him about what was going on, and he replied with an inconsolable sigh.

“More than half of the citizens have already fled east, that’s why the city looks half dead.”

“You’re not joining them? It’s dangerous here, right?”

“I was born and raised here, you see. Where would I even go? I entrusted the wife and kids to a friend and had them go somewhere safer, but I’m not going to throw away my pride just yet.”

“Pride, huh…yeah, I know how that feels. It’s not easy to throw away your home, is it.”

“You said it.”

The shop owner scratched his face with a sunburnt hand, then handed me a jute bag.

“You watch out too, mercenary sir. You weren’t born here, so you don’t have to go die with us.”

“Thank you for your words of caution. Rest assured that I have no intention to.”

I took one of the unusual — for me — red and golden fruits, turned around and walked down a stone-paved alley.

The shade of war hung thickly over the city: I silently praised the people that bravely faced forward even in such a situation.

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