“H-how can there be a city like this in a wasteland…?”
Selius was terribly baffled.
He expected a city in the wasteland, yes, but not of this size.
Its walls were greater than even the ones in the Bazurata territory’s capital. None of the towns and cities he has sieged in the recent war could compete either.
Additionally, he has never seen a road as magnificently constructed as the one that led to the city.
He thought it must have taken ages to build just the walls and the road, but the truth was that none of the structures in the wasteland existed a year ago.
Before long, he saw a gate which was just as magnificent as the walls.
When he was almost in front of it, people who seemed like guards approached. Their equipment suggested they were guards, but their rough-looking faces and their mannerisms almost made it seem like they were bandits.
“I am Selius, an emissary of the Bazurata house. I am here to meet with my sister, Selen.”
After he stated his position and purpose of his visit, the guards looked surprised.
Nevertheless, Selius’s group were let inside after only a little while.
When he passed through the gate, he found a vast field before him.
He was surprised that they could even grow crops here in the wasteland. When he looked closer though, he was surprised even more. The crops were not only varied and healthy, they were gigantic.
“Mhm? What’s that? A tree…?”
In the center of the field was something that looked like a giant tree.
The guard that was guiding him and his party seemed to have heard him.
“Ah, I won’t get close to that if I were ya. It’s not so fond of outsiders, so be careful, yeah?”
Not so fond? How can a tree even be fond of anything? Huh? What’s that? That looks like…the head of a dragon…! No, no, it can’t be…yeah, must be just imagining it.
Beyond the fields was another layer of walls.
With two layers of walls, Selius thought the city might last longer in a siege than he initially gave it credit for. But then again, that was only if the defending troops were at least decent.
“Well, it certainly seems lively here. However, if what I heard is true—that they have a population of 10,000 that are mostly immigrants from different places—they can’t possibly have enough trained soldiers. …that being said, what’s that delicious aroma? Eh? It’s minotaur meat being grilled on a skewer? Yes, I must try it at least onc–––no, no, I’m here on a mission; not to be a tourist!”
Despite the many temptations along the way, Selius finally made it to the village chief’s home where his sister should be waiting for him.
“Hmm, I thought this was going to be larger than our castle…actually, I don’t think this can even be called a castle. Mhm? Why is there steam rising from the pond…? Wait, is this a bath? Do they bathe in something this big anytime they want to? I’m so envious…n-no, I’m not, not at all! Having a good bath once in a while is more than enough!”
While Selius mumbled to himself, a young man arrived.
“Hello, Selius-kun. It’s been a while, hasn’t it?”
The two lads had met before when Selius visited the capital of the Albert territory.
Selius was actually quite worried that Luke somehow got all manly all of a sudden while he remained the same. For that not to be the case, Selius couldn’t help but breathe a sigh of relief.
Not long after Luke showed up, Selen did as well.
“I am not coming back, Selius.”
Selen opened with those stern words.
“I can’t accept that answer. You must come home with me. Our father looks forward to your swift return.”
“My return home is not what our father looks forward to, it’s the assurance of a strong relationship with the Albert house, wouldn’t you agree?”
“…even then, it’s for our house’s sake. As nobles, it only proper for us to obey the wishes of the head of our house.”
“Just disown me then. If I’m no longer a noble, there’s no problem with me doing whatever I want, right?”
“…is there really no convincing you?”
Selius asked for confirmation, and Selen quickly nodded.
“Then…even by force, I will take you back.”
In the next moment, Selius’s guards drew their weapons.
These guards were no ordinary soldiers. They were the strongest among the Bazurata house; they had numerous military achievements under their belt; and they had provided great support to Selius in the recent war.
Perhaps it was to be expected in such a situation, but armed villagers, who hid themselves before now, have surrounded Selius’s party.
In the end, they’re just civilians who picked up weapons. Meanwhile, we’re elite soldiers who have served in an actual battlefield. Moreover, including myself, we have three people with Gifts among our ranks. The only one we should truly worry about is my sister. It’s been a while since the two of us fought. But with my strength now, even she doesn’t stand a chance.
Selius had no doubt in his mind that they would prevail.
Little did he know, however, that each and every one of his opponents possessed a Gift.