~ Chapter 133: Blow off some steam ~
[Ayuseya's point of view]
As we got closer to the Sharp Talon Gatetown, the road we traveled on was getting increasingly difficult for our horses and carriage. There were many holes in which the wheels could end up getting stuck, and countless boulders had been left too close to the road, forcing us to go around them. Because of this, one of the Supremes had to move ahead and clear the road for us.
When we had around 2 more hours until we reached the Gatetown, but before we did so, Red decided it would be best to stop here and set up camp so that in the morning we would travel fresh.
While the Supremes were making something to eat for themselves, I decided to go on a little trek through the forest. Just as I did the other day, I ran at a high speed towards one of the more remote locations in this area.
After scanning for any suspicious activity or dangerous monsters and picking a relatively safe spot, I pulled out of my Storage Crystal one of Illsy's portable Inns. I fueled it with enough Magic Energy to last for three hours and then went inside.
It was quite spacious and not very appealing from the outside, but compared to many of the Inns I had the pleasure of seeing during my lifetime, this one was of an unprecedented luxury degree.
I closed the door behind me and then took out one of my coffers that was filled with spare clothes. I left it near the sofa, where I planned on laying down for a bit later on. What I wanted to do right now was to take a bath and relax. Seeing that scene earlier left a bitter taste in my mouth, but no matter what, for the sake of a good future for Illsyorea, I couldn't allow myself to be the one to land the first strike. Physical violence and threatening words were out of the question. I had to be the one acting in self-defense not be remarked as the aggressor.
When I was still learning how to be a proper Princess at the Pleyades Palace, I remember being told that politics are not to be viewed as something coerced by the feelings of another. Even in front of the most atrocious acts, those who rule the political world will close of their hearts and give out decisions through which they can reap as many benefits as possible or at the very least avoid the possibility of suffering more losses. Politics have no relation to morals and at the same time, in politics every move is planned as a trap for another, bringing both winnings and losses. It's a game in which even when you desire to have no part in it, politics will do its best to drag you in. I thought and then let out a sigh.
My experience in this domain was little at best if one looked past the countless hours of study and theory. I still had much to learn, and I could only consider myself a fool if I believed that I could easily handle all the political games the external factions threw at me. To be honest, I wasn't even aware of how many times the Emperor of Paramanium or Savannah stepped in to help me out either directly or from the shadows when someone was trying to stir up trouble.
The biggest and most concerning problem with politics was the fact that it could turn Illsyorea into everyone's enemy in a single move. At this point, our wish was coexistence, diversity, and acceptance of those who wished to learn in our Academy. To have the foreign nations paint us in the image of a villain could prove devastating for us. At least until we grew powerful enough to be wholly recognized as an independent nation by the most powerful political forces on this side of the world.
While such thoughts plagued my mind, I undressed and stepped inside the shower. I turned on the hot water and then leaned with my head on the cold marble. I listened only to the trickles and drops of water as they washed down over me as if collecting my sins and hesitation and then letting flow down the drain. My breathing was calm and relaxed, but my heart was filled with worry, worry that I was going to mess up and with one single political wrong move endanger Illsyore's dream.
I let out a deep sigh and proceeded to wash my body.
I took my sweet time inside.
When I was done, I dried myself and then with a clean towel wrapped around my body, I took a seat on the couch and tried to relax.
In this place, it was just me and the animals of the wild. The nearest settlement was far far away, and I needed not worry about adventurers or bandits. Even if by some random chance they would have found me, they wouldn't have been able to open the door or break down the walls. This building was quite safe to stay inside, but in a way, I wished for something or someone to dare so I could unleash some of my frustration on them.
About an hour later, I got changed into a new pair of clothes and then took out some of Tamara's dishes. I ate until I was full.
Outside, the sky was completely dark and far into the horizon, I could see a couple of lightning bolts falling on the ground. The thunder was feint but still echoed throughout the forest like a menacing god.
After I absorbed the inn back in my Storage Crystal, I returned to the campsite. Here, the three Supremes had finished eating their meal and were in the middle of deciding who was to keep watch overnight.
I announced my return in a calm manner and then I entered the carriage. Although it was rather difficult and uncomfortable, I did manage to fall asleep.
The following day, we woke up at the crack of dawn and after a quick breakfast, we left for Sharp Talon Gatetown.
Just as the name implied, it was a town located at the Southern entrance to the Sharp Talon Pass. This was the safest route to take if one wished to traverse the Black Tooth Ridge Mountains, but not because it was free of bandits. The main reason most travelers consider it to be safe was the terrain.
The pass itself was like a snake that slithered among the most dangerous peaks on this mountain. It was carved by ancient draconian hands with the purpose of reaching their elfin enemies. In time, it also showed its important military function, allowing the Teslov troops to traverse these dangerous mountains in record time and without worrying of injury or death.
The biggest danger on this path besides the occasional bandits were the avalanches which could bury entire caravans under tons of snow. For a Supreme, this danger was nothing. As for me, it was a joke.
The Sharp Talon Gatetown was defined by a massive stone wall that kept out both monsters and invaders alike. The tall towers behind it had the role of both defense and observation. Stationed there were most likely some of the best archers and range magic user of the local forces.
To enter the town, one had to go through a pair of big metal doors. The fact they were not made out of wood made them even more impressive as they would undoubtedly end up being harder to destroy with ordinary siege weapons.
If Illsy were to attempt and conquer this place, I believed he would need no more than an hour, and that was mostly to round up the officials as they scattered in all directions like a bunch of cockroaches. Compared to him, an ordinary general would take days if not weeks to get through its defences and even then it was highly questionable if they could round up all the officials. Behind this impressive wall, laid a simpler one that could be conquered far easier if one were to approach from within the continent. This in itself was also part of the strategy behind its construction. It was difficult to conquer but far easier to take back as long as they were draconians.
When we approached the big walls, we were stopped by the guards staying there.
“If you wish to enter, you will need to pay a tax of 10 Gold Coins!” he declared loud and clear.
That's quite a lot, especially for peasants. Does this mean that those who can't afford are forced to traverse the dangerous Black Tooth Ridge Mountains some other way? I wondered.
“Here.” Red paid without complaining about the high fee.
“Isn't that a bit too much?” I asked Blue who was standing outside my window.
“The tax is meant to keep poor people outside and milk the money from the nobles.” he replied in a calm tone of voice.
“But then only the nobles benefit from the safety of this pass.” I pointed out.
“Yes, is that something wrong?” he asked tilting his head to the left.
Although the country built the pass for military purposes, to keep it restricted only to those who had the money to pay for it was a bit too unreasonable. Those idiots at the capital were literally sentencing their own people to death this way.
I couldn't believe this, so I pulled the drape over the window and leaned back into my seat.
I didn't want to look at this town, so I waited quietly inside until we entered the pass.
“From here on, it's going to be smooth sailing!” announced Green.
“Let's hope so.” said Red, who didn't appear to be too convinced about this.
“Are you expecting trouble?” I asked as I pulled the drapes to look outside.
The walls of the Gatetown were behind us.
“Bandits, assassins... who knows?” he replied.
“In other words, target practice? Let me know if any of these moving targets come out to face us. I wish to... exercise for a bit.” I showed him a smile and then pulled back the drape.
We traveled up the pass for about three hours and didn't encounter even a single monster. There was a moment when Red felt like an avalanche might take place, but it was just a false alarm.
At noon, we encountered a snowstorm and had to take shelter in a hole carved into the wall. We waited there for three hours before the weather allowed us to continue our journey. Then, just as the sun moved past the western peaks, we encountered a group of draconians who were blocking our way with their weapons drawn.
They were burly men covered in thick fur leather armors that hadn't been washed in who knew how long. They would have been seen as an intimidating and frightening force by any group of non-Supreme travelers. The expression on their faces seemed to declare that our fates had taken a turn for the worse. There was no doubt about that the moment they laid eyes on my carriage and subsequently on my person, their minds were filled with all sorts of impure and disgusting thoughts.
Oh good! We finally encountered the stress relievers! I thought as I got out of the carriage and approached Red, who stood in front of our group.
“Leave your goods and the woman, and I might spare ya!” the meanest looking draconian out of all of them demanded as he snapped his tail in the air.
“This scum...” Red growled and bared his fangs.
“Come on now, don't go breaking my new toys.” I said as I stepped in front of him.
The moment he sensed me, he moved out of my way. He must have felt the emanation of Magic Energy around me. It was dancing with joy from having the opportunity of being released.
Green gulped and then asked “W-What are you planning to do?”
“I'm going to have fun, of course!” I showed him a gentle smile, but rather than being relaxed, he seemed to be frightened.
“The woman is a big ol' pervert! She wants to give herself to us, huh?” the bandit from before slurped as he was undressing me with his eyes.
How vile. I thought and then giggled.
Such undesirable fellows would soon learn what the name of Deus meant.
Gently lifting the hem of the dress and then bowing respectfully in front of them, I said “Thank you for showing yourselves and becoming my stress relievers. I will deeply enjoy destroying your existence!” I straightened my back and then showed them a smile.
“You what?” the man furrowed his brow.
In that moment, Magic Energy surged through my body and was released through my Magic Armor. Several lightning bolts struck the nearby boulders, cracking them open with a terribly loud bang. I then dashed towards the one farthest back, the magician. I grabbed him by the head and then tossed him in the nearby rock with ALL of my strength.
There was loud boom as his body broke the sound barrier and then another one as his body was smashed into the stone. His fragile form simply exploded into bits and pieces, while cracks and fissures spread into the side of the cliff around a barely formed impact crater.
“What the...” one of the bandits said, but at that exact moment, I moved from my spot and like a blur, I appeared behind him.
“Once again, thank you for becoming my stress relievers.” I said and then, while imagining this man as the noble from Rank Village, I slapped him as hard as I could.
His head exploded like a tomato, splattering the insides everywhere. Because of the shock, the remaining body went flying towards another bandit, causing him to be thrown back into the stone wall.
The loud sound echoed in this place, and I wouldn't have been surprised if an avalanche was to occur any time now, yet I continued to attack and destroy these bandits.
So easy it was to crush these individuals who weren't needed in any way or manner to rule this country. Yet, so hard it was to kill those who had such control.
Even if I obliterated all of them, I kept asking myself: Who would replace them? Will the initial problem be solved or just delay it? How would the innocents who lived ruled by these monsters suffer as a result?
Nobility in a Kingdom held all the roles in regard to public safety, laws, punishments, and trade. Destroying a noble house would undoubtedly lead to a period of chaos and even anarchy in the region the said nobles ruled over. Within the Kingdom, the King was absolute, but within each domain of every Lord, they were the ones who ruled. They dictated the laws, applied taxes and collected them. They were the ones who provided the security offered by guards and patrols. They were the ones who paid to maintain the settlements and allowed traders to move unhindered.
Because of this, I couldn't act as I pleased. I could neither kill nor harm those whom I deemed as guilty of terrible crimes. As Illsyore's wife, I could make claims and demands on Illsyorea, but not here where the Lords of the lands ruled with an iron grip. If I crushed one house, another would take its place. If I killed a noble, another would came to inherit his domain. The cycle would be endless unless I either killed all the nobles in the country, leaving the peasants completely unprotected against outside forces, or somehow convinced the nobles to change their ways.
On Illsyorea, we were trying to achieve the latter, and for that, we needed to be flawless in the political eyes of the countries which surrounded us.
After all, who were the commoners supposed to trust? The calls of a faraway Godlike Dungeon Lord or that of their Lord or maybe even King?
In one case, it was a matter of opinion, while in the latter, it could even be seen as treason.
Such was this world. I couldn't lay a hand on a noble unless certain conditions were met, but when it came to criminals and the likes of bandits, they were fair game for everyone. That was why I didn't hesitate to turn them all into meat paste. Yet, I was also quite aware that I was probably the only one in the family who thought so deeply about the circumstances and political implications of using violence on foreign soil.
“S-She's a m-monster!” one of them screamed and tried to flee from me.
They all did.
They finally understood that right here, they who have instigated a fight as bandits would not be protected by the law and no one would bat an eye to their meaningless deaths.
With an expression of absolute terror on their faces, they ran away in the opposite direction. The braver ones tried to cut me down. I stood still and took their hits, but they couldn't get past my Magic Armor.
I grabbed the sword of the first attacker and crushed the blade with a squeeze of my hand. Then I pushed him back. The force was enough to cave in his chest cavity, and his body was blown towards one of the unfortunate fellows who stood behind him. Unable to hold down his friend, he too was blown back and sent crashing into the stone wall behind him.
At this point, I felt the need to unleash some magic, and so I sent an [Exploding Magma Spear] with about 1500 Magic Energy points worth of charge towards the farthest fleeing bandit. The spear pierced through his chest and then exploded, leaving a molten crater in his place.
The bandits who were too close to the area of impact, were heavily injured or suffered terrible burns. Mercy was not something I wished to offer them, so at the tips of my fingers, I created a [Fire Snake] for each one of them. The magic spell created a rope of fire, which immobilized and burnt them all alive.
Looking back, I saw some of the bandits running towards the Supremes, begging them to be spared, but before they could reach them, I dragged them back by their feet and tossed them towards their friends like useless bags of flesh.
From here on out, the remaining bandits had little to no chance of escaping my wrath. Their bodies laid broken and burnt at my feet, while the area was completely devastated by my magic.
At the time when I finished off the last of the bandits, a terrible avalanche was approaching us from both sides of the mountain. For normal travelers, this would have spelled their doom, but for me, it was just an annoying situation.
Drawing breath into my lungs and mixing it with Magic Energy, I then looked towards the avalanche that came roaring down towards me and unleashed a breath of fire so powerful it could even melt stone.
Going from one side to the other, the fires turned the snow into water and then to steam. The rocks heated up and turn red, the heat caused several of them to crack open. By the time I stopped my breath, the area above me had turned molten red and there was no trace of the avalanche.
With a calm demeanor, I returned to my carriage. The three Supremes were all looking at me with mouths agape.
I must have frightened these poor fellows. I thought as I showed Red a gentle smile, but he replied by gulping and standing straight like a soldier before his general.
“Let us continue our journey.” I said as I got up in my carriage.
“Yes, ma'am!” Green replied.
Thus, we continued our journey through these treacherous mountains, and I finally let out a relaxed sigh. In moments like these, I often felt no different from my sister-wives.
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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