~ Chapter 134: The Marquess' house of paintings (Part 1) ~
[Ayuseya's point of view]
Seven days had passed since we set foot on the shore of the Teslov Kingdom, and we finally reached the Sharp Talon Outpost located on the other side of the Black Tooth Ridge Mountain. It took us three very long and boring days to cross it.
After the event with the bandits, I had enough time to think about what I had done and what the moral and legal implications of my deeds were. I didn't regret my actions, and I didn't feel sorry for killing them. If I didn't do it, somebody else would have. Legally, I acted in self-defence and then as an adventurer who took out subjugation targets. The moment the bandits unsheathed their swords, they should have been prepared to lay down their freedom and even their lives.
Unlike the Gatetown, the Sharp Talon Outpost was smaller. The guards let us pass without any problems, although they did ask at one point if we saw anything strange. Red replied that besides a bunch of weird noises, we saw nothing.
From here on out, it was going to be a trip downhill towards Mendrakar City, where we were supposed to resupply and change horses. At nightfall, because we reached the outpost when it was already past noon and didn't stay to look around, we had to camp on the side of the road again.
Unlike other nobles, I didn't make a fuss about where and how often we had to stop, and the Supremes already got used to my strange presence.
At the campsite, I climbed out of the carriage and approached the RGB group.
“Your Highness, is everything alright?” Red asked when he saw me.
“Everything's fine, Red.” I nodded and then looked at the other two.
“Is there something we can do for you?” Green asked.
“No. I was just wondering when you would estimate we would reach the capital?”
“Probably in five or six days from now? We need to reach Mendrakar City first. Afterwards, we'll travel Northwest towards Miltana Village, where I hope we can rest for the night. The it won't be long before we reach the capital.” he replied.
“Is that so? Hm...” I said as I looked over at the burning fire.
The flames were dancing beautifully.
“Are we going too fast?” Red asked out of curiosity.
“Too fast? No, rather you are going too slow. Back when I traversed the Ridge on the Paramanium Empire's side, the journey was far more comfortable and shorter. During one of our stops, we even had a small race back to the other side of the mountain and back. It was fun.” I said as I remembered that long journey three years ago.
We barely got off the Boss Island and we reached the Pirate Island. Shanteya was pregnant with Anette and Bachus. Nanya was making a fuss about Illsyore, and I had to help the servants who came with me to Fellyore and ended up getting punished by the Teslov Kingdom.
Speaking of which, I do need to find the draconian who dared to lay his hands on Soleya. I think he was working at the castle? Well, it was a good thing that both Soleya and Marcelle adapted to life on the island. I thought as I continued to look at the dancing flames.
Marcelle Ollera, the petite draconian woman, always had a reason to be cheerful and snacked on the cookies made by Yung Mai. Her passion for literature never faded and we already spoke about her becoming a librarian in the future. For now, we simply didn't have that many books to watch over. Those around Marcelle quickly became fond of her cuteness, especially the men who felt the need to protect her.
On the other hand, Soleya, was a draconian woman who didn't let just any man get close to her. After what happened to her, I couldn't blame her. Illsy built her a house of her own, and when I went to visit her last time, I caught sight of a letter which I assumed was addressed to Keltaru Dowesyl. I always found those two to be rather close one to another, but I could never tell if it was just a close friendship or something more.
Letting out a sigh, I turned my eyes away from the flames and returned to my carriage.
“Goodnight.” I told the three.
The following day, we reached the beautiful city of Mendrakar. It had already been eight days since we set foot on the Thorya Continent, and we were only around three or four days away from the capital of the Teslov Kingdom. As much as I wanted to see the Pleyades Palace again and meet my younger sister, Vellezya, I feared the conditions in which I would get to do so.
My childhood, be it for good or worse, wasn't as bad as one were to believe.
I was born in the first month of spring in a year when famine had struck the Teslov Kingdom. The royal family was spared of its effects, but the population suffered terribly as a result.
My mother took great care of me when I was young, treating me like the most precious jewel in the entire Kingdom. As a child, I was grateful for this and fully enjoyed the affection I was given, but all the other adults in the palace didn't seem to be of the same opinion.
The one thing I never found odd back then should have been the first sign of alarm for me. As a child, I never got to play with other children nor did I see any other royal children within the palace. Except for my sister and at time the brother from another mother, there was no one there.
For a family which struggled to maintain its bloodline due to that curse, it was quite ridiculous that I didn't see anyone of my age running around the corridors.
I also often heard the servants whispering of how lucky I was to be able to stay with my mother or even in the palace at all. Later, I would come to learn that my other relatives didn't live within the safety of the royal palace but rather in special villas outside of it.
Despite all of this, I had what I would like to believe was a rather normal childhood. At the age of three, I was tutored by three different teachers in all sort of things. At the age of six, I learned how to ride a horse, then I was thought in the ways of being a royal.
My mother died when I was fairly young, but that didn't ruin my childhood. I continued to do my best until I was 17 years old, when I was first told about the Ball. The idea of submitting myself to this sort of horrible fate frightened me.
I managed to avoid it for a while, but then I was engaged by force to Dankyun, who then cursed me by burning my vocal cords with a concoction of flesh eating worms.
The rest was history.
Seeing Mendrakar sparked these various memories within me, and I found my chest hurting from the pain of having to acknowledge that all of the attention and care I received as a child was merely so I would give birth to a sacrificial baby.
My return to this horrible place would thus be seen as questionable, but while the adults treated me as they did, my hope lied in my little sister and the idea that maybe the little brother whom at one point I saw as cute and innocent hadn't been corrupted too much by these draconians.
I came to this country as a political representative of Illsyorea, but I doubted they would accept me as such. What I wanted was for the history books to remember this month as the time when Ayuseya Drekar Deus tried her best to negotiate in a peaceful manner for this kingdom to stop pestering Illsyorea and herself. I wanted for all those who looked back into the past at this moment to see who were the ones who made the first move and then how they were crushed like insects by me.
The old me would have seen this plan as one unbecoming of a Princess, but I wasn't a Princess anymore, I was a woman who was fighting to protect the interests of her real family back on Illsyorea.
When I came to Fellyore, my hands were clean of blood and my heart was as fragile as it could be. Even the fact that I had fled all the way there was a wonder in itself. However, staying by Illsy's side and realizing that I had to take responsibility for the strength I could wield in combat slowly changed me into the woman I was today.
In Aunnar Kingdom, I learned what it means take a life and not be able to control my own power. Then, over the six years on the Boss Island, I learned to steel my heart and not back away from a fight or kill.
Dankyun was the last push of the button. He was the last drop in the glass right before it was full. After I killed him, I was reborn anew. I had no more fears in regard to taking another life, but I would not be one to take it foolishly either.
Innocents would never taste my blade, but criminals would be welcomed to feel its wrath. The monster who took my voice away was going to be my last kill on the land of my home, as for those who followed in his tracks, I would simply incapacitate and let others judge.
To live with a great power, one had to accept the strict rules that could contain it.
All of us had these unwritten guidelines which we followed to the letter. If we failed to do so, we would merely end up loosing ourselves to the taste of blood and turn into unscrupulous monsters.
Initially, I thought that we would enter the Mendrakar City and then make our way to the local inn, where would sleep for the night, however, something strange happened at the gates. No matter how much Red argued, the guards wouldn't let us pass.
“Boy, if you don't let us through, I'm going to squeeze that worthless melon you call a head until I turn it inside out!” Red growled at the man.
“I-I'm s-s-sorry, b-b-ut t-the orders.... I-I c-can't!” the draconian replied shaking in his boots.
If this guard faced a random adventurer, maybe he wouldn't have been so afraid, but Red was bombarding him with his killing intent to the point where I was actually surprised he didn't flee screaming or fainted on the spot.
“What's going on?” I asked seeing how this was going nowhere.
“Your Highness, apparently this poor excuse for a living being received orders not to let us inside Mendrakar City.” Red replied as he kept glaring at the draconian.
“I-I'm s-s-sorry! The L-Lord o-o-ordered us so!” he said in a hurry.
“And who is this Lord of yours?” I questioned him as I got out of the carriage.
“Marquess Masvarius Gharant the 8th!” he declared.
I know that name. I thought.
I had never met this draconian in person, but I remembered that during one of the Pleyades Family History Classes, I was thought that the Masvarius family was one of many known to be blood-related to the Pleyades family as well as carriers of the curse.
“Then why don't you let him know that we have arrived?” I asked the guard.
“R-Right away!” he said and he ran off to tell the Marquess.
“Why should we bother to listen to what this noble has to say? Our priority is to reach the Capital, not waste our time like this.” Red said.
“I understand, but there must be a reason why he ordered his guards to stop us at the gates.” I replied and then thought I also want to see if I can get any information out of him regarding the current state of affairs at the palace. I then returned to my carriage.
About half an hour later, the guard return and let us through. We were escorted to the Marquess' home, a lavishing mansion that showed the Lord's delight in spending the tax money as well as his peculiar tastes in art. The entire courtyard was filled with statues representing nude human and elf women. Because there were no draconian women among them, the Teslov society didn't see this sort of display as something inappropriate or distasteful.
For us, it was the same as humans displaying statues of shaved dogs.
“Your Highness, I humbly welcome you to the Masvarius Estate, the master is awaiting your presence in the reception room.” an elegant butler informed me as soon as I stepped out of the carriage.
“Take us to him then.” I said.
“I apologize, but he has requested only your presence. The others are to wait in the guest rooms. This young lady will show you the way.” the butler pointed towards a teenage draconian woman.
She made a polite bow in front of them and then said “Esteemed masters, please follow me.”
“We're not leaving her Highness alone.” Red declared.
“Do you think something inappropriate might happen to her here?” the butler asked.
Red looked at me, and I nodded.
“Do as you like.” he growled and crossed his arms at his chest.
“Please lead me to where the Marquess is waiting for me.” I said with a polite smile on my lips.
“Right away, your Highness.” the butler bowed.
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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