~ Chapter 131: The choice of the helpless (Part 1) ~
[Ayuseya's point of view]
The journey across the great ocean had been a tiring one for the crew of the ship, mostly because they were traveling on unfamiliar waters and carrying individuals of a high degree of importance. In order to bring us on the Teslov Kingdom's waters, they had to make a difficult and unusually long detour from their original route. However, if this was a journey without profit still remained to be seen. It was up to the merchant who owned this ship to decide if there was anything worth buying low in Teslov and selling high somewhere else.
Since he kept his word and brought me here, I was inclined to make sure my husband kept his word about allowing him to continue his trade and pardoning his previous mistake of trying to smuggle in the enemies of Illsyorea on the island.
When I set foot on the pier, I looked back at the ship and my gaze fell on the expressions of all those sailors. The merchant in question, whose name was Burta Dende, was also up there, seeing me off.
“It has a been a pleasure traveling on board your ship.” I told them with a smile.
“No! The pleasure was ours, madam Ayuseya!” they all replied in a choir.
After I showed them the little trick with the wind spell, in the aftermath of their competition to further increase the power of their spells, they managed to reach a rather decent level. Our journey was so short that it felt as though we traveled only with clears skies ahead.
“Madam Ayuseya, about the Illsyorea incident?” Burta Dende asked and gulped at the end.
He was hoping not to have offended me by bringing up this matter.
“Yes, as promised, my husband will allow you to continue trading on Illsyorea and pardon the crime that would have otherwise led to your certain death.” I replied with a smile.
The man gulped again.
The pressure of my words made him feel as though his throat was as dry as a rock in the middle of the scorching desert. The poor man was sweating buckets.
“Good day, gentlemen.” I told them with a smile and then turned around.
From here on, whatever they did mattered not to me.
As for the troublesome trio Red, Green, and Blue, they were walking right behind me, acting as my escort on my journey to the capital of Teslov.
“It's been a long time since I last stepped on this land.” I said as I looked at the buildings of Port Callira spreading before my eyes.
Countless draconians were going about, minding their own business, and it was certain that none of them even remotely knew who I was. Even if they did, they wouldn't know I had survived all this time outside of the protection of the kingdom and more so under the protection of a Dungeon Lord.
Then again, it had been almost three years since I renounced my name as a Pleyades and relinquished my title as a Princess before the very gods who rule this world. When Illsyore checked my status, he didn't see that name anymore.
That night, on top of the Eastern Guardian Crest Mountains, when I was thinking of simply destroying the entire capital of Teslov, I chose the life not as a Princess but that as Illsyore's wife and of a woman free of the political restraints the nobles of this kingdom so desperately tried to tie me down with.
Yet, despite the fact that I was a Pleyades no more, they themselves couldn't accept this. As long as the blood of the ancient kings still flowed through my veins, in their eyes, I still belonged to them.
I find it so funny when I imagine the look those fools will have on their faces when they hear what I have to say about this. Ah~ I wish to be done with this charade as soon as possible and then return to my family... my real one. I thought and then let out a sigh.
“Is something the matter?” asked Green.
“Nothing. I was just thinking how easy it would have been for me to simply run across the ocean instead of just walking around like this...” I said.
“Running? Across the ocean?” Green asked as if I had said something strange.
“At this point, honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if you told us you can also fly through the sky like a bird.” said Red as he shook his head.
“What? You can't?” I asked looking back at them and tilting my head in surprise.
They all were looking at me as if I had just said something outrageous. Well, common sense dictated that no sapient species knew how to fly, but in the Deus family, this was a bit of an outdated belief.
This reminded me of the time on the Boss Island when Illsy created something he called a 'rocket' and then attempted to launch it. While the contraption did fly, Illsy forgot to set its course. It ended up landing right in the middle of a pack of Ulmasaurs, strange monkey-like creatures three times bigger than a human, aggressive and of average strength when compared to the rest of the monsters on the island. Those things weren't happy about it and chased after Illsy for an entire day.
Callira Port Town was quite big, harboring at least 20000 draconians by my estimates. There was even a shipyard where a new galleon was being built, and I could see it all the way from the docks.
By all means, when one were to look at this scene, they would think that Callira Port Town was actually filled with rich people, but the clothes most of them were wearing were old, dirty, and patched up in several places. A lot of the draconians who were walking on the streets seemed to come from impoverished families.
Could the state of affairs have declined in the past several years? I wondered as I continued to walk down the main road.
We soon arrived at a stable, where the RGB group rented a big carriage suited for a noble woman. It took them half an hour to prepare it, but as soon as they were done with it, we were on our way towards Entalon Town.
To get there, we had to first pass through Noz Village, but the way there was on a road that wasn't as traveled as the one leading towards Nork Village. My initial guess was that we would go through Nork then Noz and finally arrive in Entalon. At least, that was the path I often saw being used by merchants and travelers. The RGB group, however, saw no need taking the safer route. After all, with this sort of escorts, there was no need to fear petty thieves and bandits.
Thinking about such unsavory fellows attacking us was the same as thinking about a group of Beginner Rank Adventurers attempting to clear the 200th floor of a dungeon. Simply put, it was ridiculous.
The ride with the carriage was god-awful. It shook at every step on the way, and it was so noisy, I thought they were using it to scare off the monsters around these parts. The driver was Green, but every so often, he would start swearing at the horses to force them to go faster.
Several times I thought about pulling out the armor-plated SUV, but if I did that, my plan of tricking the pesky nobles in the capital would have failed. As such, I resorted to mainly using a comfy pillow to protect my tushie from being bruised.
Then, several hours later, we arrived at the entrance to Noz Village.
Rain clouds had gathered in the sky, rushing in from the sea. Because Red didn't want to risk getting caught by a storm in the middle of the forest, he decided that we were to change the horses at the local stable and then head for Entalon Town, where we were going to spend the night.
For me, it didn't matter if it was raining or snowing outside. Neither the weather or arriving late at the capital bothered me. In fact, such delays were considered normal for the most part, and it would have been strange if we arrived earlier than expected.
While we passed through Noz Village, I noticed once more the degree of poverty the draconians were suffering from. The houses lacked maintenance, and their clothes were ripped and patched up in several places, showing that they didn't have any money to afford anything new.
I wanted to think that this was just a coincidence, but I ended spotting the guards tasked with defending this settlement. Their swords were chipped and their armors were cracked. For a moment, I thought that they were just some random adventurers or maybe bandits.
“Is this a poor village?” I asked.
“Not really... This is how the majority of the villages look like.” Blue replied and shrugged.
So this sight is a common thing? I thought and then watched as a young draconian child looked up at our passing carriage.
There was wonder in his eyes, but also a glimpse of curiosity. Like all the other villagers, he was skinny and wore only rags. His mother pulled him back, so that he may not accidentally step in front of our carriage.
I heard that in some places, such an act was punishable by death.
“Do you pity them?” asked Red as he looked at me with his stoic expression.
“Should I not?” I replied.
“You left them, so I don't think you have the right to do so.” he retorted.
I smiled back to him and told him “I survived however it was needed of me to do so. Luck was simply on my side for having met a wonderful man who loved me back and didn't care about my political power.”
“Aren't royals supposed to be the sacrifices for their people?” he asked raising an eyebrow.
“I'm no royal, Red. I'm a Deus.” I told him.
He didn't comment, and I remained quiet.
The journey towards Entalon Town was uneventful, but as we got closer, we began to see more and more people camping outside of the settlement. In my innocent way, I thought that maybe the nobles were organizing some sort of festival and these were draconians who traveled from far and wide to see it.
If that was true, then why did they all looked like they had been struck by a calamity?
“What's this?” I asked.
“I don't know... Wait here. I'm going to go and check it out.” said Red.
After he got out of the carriage, I wished to leave as well, but Blue wanted to stop me.
“He told you to wait here.”
I looked back at him and showed him a smile. The draconian Supreme flinched.
After I stepped out, I approached one of the groups of civilians who were camping on the side of the road. It was a family of three. The father looked like a weakened soldier, and the mother was skinny and could barely hold the cooked potato in her hands. Contrary to them, the child appeared to be well fed, which showed that his parents tried their best to give him food even if it meant to take it from their own mouths. This was the reason why I had approached them. If the parents looked well fed and strong while their child was weak and sickly, that might have been an indication that they weren't caring for him properly.
“Good afternoon.” I said and showed them a smile.
“What? Haven't you already taken everything from us? What else do you want?” the mother asked with clear disgust in the tone of her voice.
“I think you are confusing me with someone else. I'm not a noble of this country, just someone who happened to be visiting this place. I was curious about what's going on here.” I asked.
“You a foreigner? But... your scales...” the father asked.
“Of no importance. So please, can you tell me what's going on here?” I asked again.
“Lady, you really don't know?” the boy asked as he looked up at me with curious eyes.
I showed him a smile and then knelt in front of him. My skirt touched the dirt on the ground, but thanks to the enchants on it, I didn't need to worry about getting it dirty. I looked into his eyes and then gently patted his head.
“No, child, I don't.”
Note from the author: Thank you for reading this chapter, I hope you enjoyed it! Oh, and be sure to check out my other stories too!
I know some of you are troubled by my typos and at times grammar mistakes. I do edit it to the best of my abilities before posting it, but some things just slip through for various reason (mostly because before editing it, the whole chapter is a mess). However, if you have fun looking for them, go ahead and let me know where they are. On my discord server, there's a special channel just for that: help_author_edit
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