~ Chapter 138: The Horrors of Drakaros (Part 2) ~
These poor delusional women. If only they knew who my beloved husband was, then they wouldn't be so quick to speak ill behind his back. But at the very least, I realized something from their nonsense. Vellezya is in a critical state and the nobles of Teslov don't recognise my marriage with Illsyore. I thought as I looked down at my gloved hand which hid the golden magic ring tattoo.
After my inspection of the town, I was going to visit Vellezya. I couldn't help but wonder if she was still the little sister I remembered, the draconian girl who loved tea and cringed at the thought of coffee, who toddled behind me with big curious eyes wherever I went out to my debate sessions and eagerly waited for me in the library to read her a story book. We were sisters of the same mother but different fathers.
I'm not going to let you die... I thought and then made my way towards the Second Wall.
On my way there, I kept hearing all sort of casual conversations among the noble draconians. What they revealed with a joyous smile only showed me how deep corruption ran among these fools. They spoke of illegal slave trades, opiates, and all sort of illegal magical devices. These things appeared to be part of their hobbies and quite common among them.
The most disgusting thing I heard was when one of the nobles offered their young daughter in a trade of favors with another noble. The horrifying thing, however, was the fact that this trade was sexual in nature. I sincerely wanted to cast my [Wrath of the Ageless Gods] attack right there in the middle of them, but I feared that if I did so, I would have made this journey for nothing, so for the time being, I cast a small [Fireball] which slightly injured them and caused quite a bit of stir among them.
While I couldn't hope to stop those madmen from continuing with their depraved practices, I could at the very least delay them.
When I reached the Second Wall, I thought about heading towards the Guard's Room to have a little chat with Borgis, but I decided against going there right now. It would have been far better if I simply dealt with him when I returned from my inspection of the city.
Right on the other side of the wall, the houses of the commoners rich enough to live within the city could be seen spreading in a big circle. The moment I landed on the rooftop of one of the buildings here, I noticed the difference in living styles.
The stench of dirt, grime, and garbage filled the air. The noise was louder too as the draconians living here went about their daily lives. Guards patrolled the streets, casting down intimidating gazes upon all those around them. The children, while few in numbers, didn't dare to move to far away from their parents.
This place looks far worse even than Aunnar Kingdom from the time when Prince Reynolds was selfishly abusing his power. I thought as I looked at the patched up clothes the commoners wore.
If I didn't know any better, I would have thought we were in the slums. The difference between the noble area and this one was far too big.
In my current attire, there was no need for me to keep jumping over rooftops. I could walk among them, and they would simply see me as a wandering adventurer looking for a place to spend the night or going towards her next job.
Walking down the twisted streets of the city made me realize the poor conditions the draconian commoners were living in. To my own shame, this was the very first time in my life that I saw them. Before fleeing for Fellyore Academy, I had barely visited the noble area of Drakaros.
The wells here were few and spread apart with an awful dirty scent coming from them, yet children were drawing water and gulping it down when they were thirsty. The elderly were looking at the sky with an empty gaze, almost as if they were counting down the moments until they would draw their last breath. The men were either weak or strong, where the latter bullied the first. Women didn't dare step out of their homes and the little girls were carefully protected by their parents even from their own neighbors. It made me feel sick when I saw with what sort of worries they lived in this city.
Young ladies of marriageable age who didn't get a husband already were selling their bodies for sexual pleasures at the corners of every street, while the men were more than eager to buy them. Two such creeps approached me in a similar manner, and I calmed them down with a knee where it hurt them most.
The true horrifying state of the lives of these draconians was revealed to me when a young draconian girl, no more than 14 years old walked around with her clothes ripped up and hair disheveled. Tears flowed down her cheeks and blood down her legs.
“W-Why? W-Why?” she kept crying while looking down at the newborn baby in her arms.
The tiny body showed no signs of life, but from where I stood, I could not see if it died of natural causes or something else.
Even the soldiers ignored her.
The girl stopped in front of a house with a broken rooftop. The door opened and a woman dashed out.
“My baby girl, what happened to you?” the mother of the girl asked while crying in grief.
“Mother... my baby... they kicked me and kicked me... Why? What did I do? What did my child do?” the girl cried.
“Who? Who did it?” she asked.
“T-Talavar... He and his men... Why?” she cried.
“Ta... Talavar? The Blackhound?” the mother asked.
“Yes.” the girl nodded.
Biting her lip and embracing the girl, the mother told her “Forget it... you can't do anything against that beast. He even has the approval of Borgis. If you try to do anything, he'll take your life.” she said.
Borgis? And here I thought you were going to die quickly. I thought.
The girl, when she heard her mother what could otherwise be interpreted as 'your child died for nothing, and you can't do anything about it', she felt weak in the knees and slumped on the ground. Tears flowed down endlessly on her cheeks as her weeps and cries could be heard on the entire street.
There was nothing I could do for them as I was, so I walked away, swearing in my heart that such tragedies would never happen on Illsyorea for as long as I lived.
It was impressive how a single scene like this could make me feel so much pain and sadness, yet I feared that this wasn't the worst that this city had to offer.
As I walked down the street, I witnessed all sort of scenes wrapped around the feeling of despair. The oppression of the upper class ran rampant at every corner and was visible through the behavior of the very draconians who were living here. The stores of commoners were forced to sell dirt-cheap to the nobles, while pumping up the prices for the others. If the guards harmed a draconian commoner in any way, they couldn't fight back, they couldn't even look up at them. All they could do was bow their heads and accept the abuse. As a result of this, the anger and stress the parents gained from a day of work was let out on their children. Thus, it wasn't so uncommon to see a poor child with a gaze of distrust in their eyes and bruises all over their bodies.
More than once I wanted to stop and lend a helping hand, but doing so would have only brought more trouble their way. If the nobles saw that a commoner had too much food or too much money, then they wouldn't hesitate to take it away under the pretext of taxes. Thus, if I gave them money, then it would be taken away. If I healed them, then they would be beaten up by those around them. I couldn't even wave my name around as it held no weight to the draconians living here.
In other words, whatever action I took could only be short-lived and the result might end up bringing more suffering to the ones I tried to help. Such a level of hopelessness and depression I had never seen in my entire life, and I was even more shocked to realize that all of this happened as well back when I was still living at the palace.
While these poor draconians were struggling in dirt and grime to survive in this harsh environment every hour of the day, I chose to run away from this place and seek out a way out of my marriage. I ran to Fellyore without even so much as pondering about the fate of these poor folk.
As I walked past a store that was selling used clothing, I saw a draconian hanging from the ceiling right in the middle of it. I immediately rushed inside, thinking that maybe I could save him, but as soon as I opened the door, a foul stench washed over me. If not for my Magic Armor, I would have emptied my stomach right there.
It was the smell of death.
Upon a closer inspection of the hanging body, I noticed that the man had been dead for quite a while, and his body was slowly decaying.
I walked back out and my eyes met the gaze of a young boy no more than fourteen huddling his knees on the other side. His tail was coiled around his legs and his body was so dirty, I couldn't tell the color of his scales. He was staring right into my eyes.
“Hello.” I said and showed him a smile.
The boy didn't reply, he continued to look at me and then moved his gaze towards the store behind me.
“Do you know who the owner of this place is?” I asked.
He nodded and then pointed at the store. Looking back, I saw the hanged draconian. I furrowed my brow in sadness.
“Are you his relative?” I asked the boy.
He shook his head.
“Thank you...” I told him in a gentle tone of voice and then left the scene.
As soon as I moved out of the way, he rushed inside to steal whatever little of value was inside. The smell of death did not bother him at all and soon enough there were others who joined him on the scavenge hunt.
The guards who passed by them merely looked at them in disgust and ignored them. They didn't even bother to ask what happened to the draconian hanging from the ceiling, or maybe they already knew about it but didn't bother to do anything.
I watched the scavengers for a few minutes until the boy from earlier walked out with a scratch on his left cheek and a bite mark on his right arm. He was holding a bunch of dirty clothes in his arms, and his eyes held a strange determination to keep on living, to survive.
Without saying a word, he fled into a dark alley. Soon afterwards, the other scavengers left the shop with anything of value they could take. In the end, the very shop was claimed but a group of homeless draconians. They cut down the body of the previous owner and then tossed it out into the nearby alley.
I kept watching this entire scene and couldn't help but wonder if that poor draconian's soul had any chance of resting in peace in the afterlife. Without a proper burial, without anyone acknowledging his existence or even knowing his name, he found his end in his own shop. A life spent on building up something that vanished right from under his grasp.
What drove you to suicide? I wondered as I offered him a silent prayer and then walked away as well.
If this was Illsyorea, something like this would not have been possible, but in the event that we, the Deus family were gone, could I still stubbornly claim the same thing? What had led all of these draconians to suffer like this? Through what sort of a unfortunate events did they have to pass to reach this point?
Such were the questions that were spinning around in my mind, whispering me that such tragedies were inevitable no matter what I tried to do to prevent them. Those whispers were telling me that Illsyore's dream was going to end up the same way, and truth be told, I felt like it would.
If the Deus family is gone... Illsyorea can't exist. I thought as I simulated in my mind time and time again this sort of scenario.
No matter how I tried to pull the strings, it was clear that Illsyorea couldn't become an independent structure capable of surviving on its own without Illsy's protection. He severely underestimated the dependence of those people living there on his own existence.
We can't let something like this go on... I thought and as I did so, I found myself entering the slum area of Drakaros.
The stench of the poor, dirty, and diseased was far stronger here than within the commoner area. I felt like I had actually took a step into the forgotten land of the dead, and I couldn't help but wonder why I haven't noticed this frightening difference between the areas before.
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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