~ Chapter 138: The Horrors of Drakaros (Part 1) ~
[WARNING! This chapter is not for the feint of heart!]
[Heavy Psychological Impact]
[Ayuseya's point of view]
In every self-respecting monarchy there were certain procedures and rituals that took place when a Royal left or returned to the Royal Palace. In Teslov Kingdom, however, they were a bit vague even to me. The reason for this was because there weren't that many situations in the past where the women of my family parted with the safety of the capital, while those who were welcomed within it would then be unable to leave for various reasons.
As such, there was no grand reception to welcome me, no ministers or nobles to greet me, no crowd of commoners to lay down a petal flower carpet before me. As soon as I stepped foot within the Pleyades Palace, the guards dispersed and then a young maid guided me to one of the empty guest rooms. My old room had apparently been given to one of my little brother's wives during my absence.
My orders while I remained at the Pleyades Palace were simple: Stay in your room until his Majesty calls for you.
Thus, for the duration of three whole days since I arrived in Drakaros, the Capital of the Teslov Kingdom, all I did was wait patiently within the confines of my room for the opportunity to speak with his Majesty, King Braydan.
Besides that one young maid, who didn't even so much as sketch an emotion or dare make eye contact with me, there were no nobles or commoners who approached me. The food I was given appeared to be quite luxurious at first sight, but I didn't take even a single bite from it. What I preferred was Tamara's cooking.
The Council of Elders and most likely his Majesty as well were expecting me to act like some weak political doll which they could manipulate as they pleased. A mistake on their side of which I intended to take full advantage of at the right time.
Thus, on the fourth day, in the morning, I told the maid that I was going to take a look around the palace.
“I beg your pardon, milady, but the order was...”
Before she could finish her words, I cut her off by asking her “What is your rank, draconian woman?”
“Eh? Erm...” she looked at me with big eyes, surprised and confused by the sudden question.
“Answer me or are you deaf?” I put a bit of pressure in the tone of my voice.
“Erm... I'm a... Baron's daughter.” she replied with hesitation.
Within the Palace Grounds there were no commoners. Even the soldiers and guards walking around wearing the royal emblem on their armor carried the blood of nobles within their veins.
“What about me? What is my rank, draconian woman?” I asked then.
“Then why are you, a Baron's daughter, telling me that I can't walk around the castle I was born in? More so, do remember that I am also a foreign political figure of great importance! A single word from me to the Emperor of Paramanium could bring the entire Teslov Kingdom to ruin!So I ask again, who are YOU to dare tell me what to do?” I raised the tone of my voice and put a bit of pressure in my presence.
The wave of intimidation that fell upon her was powerful enough to cause her to tremble and think twice before she opened her mouth again.
The maid remained silent.
“That was what I thought.” and with this I left her behind.
In general, a Princess who is trapped within her own castle will do everything she can to improve her relationship with the servants living there in the hope that one of them will be able to help her when needed be. The reason why the servant would extend a helpful hand although knowing that he could be charged with treason for doing so was because under the Princess' protection, if she won, they would be spared and even greatly rewarded.
On the other hand, if the Princess was trapped in another castle, one would think that she was in danger. The truth, however, was that such an individual would be far too important to treat poorly. Thus, the Princess who was trapped in another castle could use her own presumed frailty and importance as a weapon against the servants living there. Trying to befriend them would do her no good as they held no allegiance to her bloodline. If they helped her, there would only be dangers awaiting them. Someone who kidnapped a Princess would not hesitate to turn the family of a traitor into an example of what could happen to those who held such thoughts. More than often, this meant a bloody, gory, humiliating, and very painful public execution for all of them.
In my case, I was a Princess trapped in another castle, but there was no need to wait for my Prince Charming to save me. He was busy taking care of the children back at home.
Thus, I made my way out of the room and began to 'explore' my former castle. Knowing that if I were to be met with the guards, they would try to bring me back to my room, I moved with absolute stealth.
The Pleyades Palace was an incredibly large building that could encompass around five Illsyorea Academy Main Buildings. The gardens behind the palace as well as the training fields around it were big enough to fit an entire army.
This incredible size also meant that there was a lot of unused space and empty rooms. To facilitate interactions with those living here, the entire Palace was separated within sections that were more densely populated and sections that didn't hold even a single soul.
I was currently using one of those empty areas in order to avoid bumping into guards and nobles. My desire was not to go exploring this place but rather to go outside the walls and visit the various parts of Drakaros. I was curious to see how the commoners lived and also what was the situation with the nobles. My next course of action would depend on what I would come to witness as well as what I was going to be told during the audience with his Majesty.
The whole reason I was here in the Teslov Kingdom was to make sure that the Council of Elders wasn't going to try again to threaten me or send assassins after me and my family again. For the five of us, they were nothing more than pests, but neither our children nor our students could defend themselves against them yet.
While walking down the empty corridors, I used [Living Being Sonar] to see if there were any guards or servants around me. It was a bit more difficult for me to use this skill than it was for Shanteya, who became quite proficient in all the stealth spells she developed together with Illsy. The area it covered was far smaller, but in regard to its use in combat, I was often told that I was the 'Artillery' of the group rather than the 'main DPS'. As for Nanya, she was what he called the 'berserker tank that always agroed all the mobs in the dungeon and often got the party killed'. Zoreya was the '0 DMG Full-specced Tank', Tamara was the 'pet mascot', and he was the 'DPS and Healer combo'.
Surprisingly, it wasn't that hard to understand what all of those weird words meant once he explained them to us.
From what I could detect, the only living beings in this area, with the exception of a couple of birds and a bunch of insects burrowing through the ground, were four draconian guards who were patrolling in two separate teams. From the way they were moving, I deduced that I was going to encounter one of them in about 10 minutes or so.
There's no need to wait for them to pass, I'll just hide in an empty room and change there. I thought as I calmly opened the door of the first room I encountered.
Inside, I changed out of my fancy dress and put on a leather armor reinforced with metal scales. The enchants were all made by Illsyore and allowed it to withstand my movement in combat. All that I needed now was to put on my dark-brown hooded cloak, but just as I pulled it out of my Storage Crystal, I heard the guards outside talking.
“I can't believe that Princess Ayuseya is back.” one of them said.
“Do you think they'll let us do her at the Ball?” the other asked.
Ball? I blinked surprised Do the members of this foolish Council of Elders have a death wish? I wondered.
“Who knows? Thing is... and don't go telling this to anyone, but I heard that Borgis had a bit of fun with one of her maids when she was captured a few years back.”
Had a bit of fun? Is he talking about... my mind went to poor Soleya.
“Borgis? That guy steals all the fun from us! Those maids of hers were cute too. But where is Borgis stationed now anyway?” he asked curiously.
“He was transferred as a Captain of the Guards on the Second Wall.” he replied.
“That bastard! He didn't even offer us a drink for getting such a generous promotion!” the other rebuked.
“Oh, speaking of which! I heard that Runmall was torturing a commoner again...”
They continued to talk about other colleagues of theirs who were either more or less corrupt than Borgis, but he was the only one of interest for me. In the end, the sound of their voices got weaker and weaker as they moved farther away from me.
The Second Wall, that's the one separating the Noble Area from the Commoner Area. Maybe I'll go pay him a visit? I thought as I remembered what Soleya told me back then, the pain and shame she went through as she suffered from being touched by a scum like him.
Instead of walking out of the room, I made my way to the window and jumped out. Taking a a stealth approach, I made my way to the Palace's wall and jumped over it, landing in the Noble Area.
Let's see how the nobles are living their days. I thought.
The buildings on this side of the city were tall enough to make a draconian of average height feel comfortable and a human as if he was walking through the land of giants. White marble columns decorated the entrances of each and every building built in this area as if it was a testament to the purity of their noble bloodlines. The air was clean and had a scent of flowers, but to keep it that way, countless servants were employed and forced to clean after the greedy nobles.
To better listen to them, I traveled on the pointed rooftops of their prestigious buildings and watched as they went about their merry life. From an outsider's point of view, it might have looked like paradise, but in my eyes, it was far from such a thing.
Paradise was in Illsyorea, where everyone stood a fair chance at their dreams. Paradise was in a country where everyone had a chance at smiling and being happy. There was no paradise here, where the noble's joyous laughter was built on the agony of their servants.
As I jumped from rooftop to rooftop, listening in on their conversation, I heard something that peaked my interest.
“You know? I heard something interesting the other day.” said an old draconian woman who wore a ball dress filled with frills and golden embroidery.
“What did you hear, my dear?” another draconian woman replied who wore a similar outfit.
“I heard that the Princess Vellezya's condition is getting worse and worse with each passing day.”
“Indeed. You know, my daughter is one of her personal maids. And...” she stopped and looked around.
“And?” the other woman asked filled with curiosity.
Once she was certain the coast was clear, she continued “And she saw her puking blood one day. It's dreadful to think that we have such a weak Princess.” she shook her head.
“The shame of our Kingdom.”
“No, the shame of our Kingdom is Princess Ayuseya Pleyades. That miserable woman gave her body to some foreign madman named Illsyore instead of one of a draconian of pure blood!” she puffed.
“Oh, speaking of which, I heard she returned to the palace. She is quite long-lived.” she nodded.
“No worries, she'll be sent to the Ball and then she too will be vomiting blood! Ohohoho!” she began to laugh.
I simply let out a sigh and shook my head.
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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