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Barbarian Quest

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Barbarian Quest

[Translator – goguma]

[Proofreader – yukitokata]

 

Chapter 59 - Audience (1)

 

Hamel City, the imperial capital, was the largest city in the Empire with a population of one hundred thousand. The name ‘Hamel’ was taken from the Empire’s predecessor, a city-state also named ‘Hamel’. Now, Hamel was just the name of the capital city, and the name of the nation became ‘Empire’ to represent the Empire itself.

“Heut! Heut!”

It was busy on the outer wall as men worked to repair and maintain it. The castle wall was as tall as seven adult males. The technicians were using lifts to carry the stones high.

Murmur, murmur.

Urich couldn’t focus. There were too many things to catch with just one set of eyes. Even if he had multiple pairs, it still wouldn’t have been enough. He had never been somewhere with this many people. Various races of people were walking by without even looking at each other.

“Urich, you’ll get lost like that. Stay right next to Kilios,” said Fahel. He had been watching Urich’s flustered expressions since a while ago.

‘Even if it’s Urich, it’s his first time at the imperial capital. There’s no way he wouldn’t be shocked by all of this.’

There was nowhere else like this in the world. Everything was in Hamel. It was the center of academia and the commercial center of the world. It had a population of one hundred thousand, but it also had a floating population of twenty thousand. That was just how busy the massive city of Hamel was.

‘The Empire’s Heart.’

Urich finally realized the meaning behind those words. The essence of civilization was here. Even though he was just at the outskirts of Hamel, he could feel it in his bones. Everything he saw up to now in the civilized world was just child’s play compared to here.

“The city will be more crowded than it usually is because soon, the annual jousting tournament will happen. Anyways, only five people will be permitted to enter the Imperial Palace,” said Sun Warrior Havald, their guide. There was no way the entire mercenary group would be allowed in.

Urich clapped his hands to gather the mercenary group’s executives.

“Bakman and I will enter the palace together as liaisons. The rest of you, find a suitable place to stay.”

The mercenaries were already starting to wear grins on their faces. Their bodies were itching in anticipation, thinking about how much fun they would have. There were as many beautiful women in the Empire as there were people. And as long as one had money, one could enjoy all sorts of fun in Hamel.

After sending off the mercenaries, Urich looked around the plaza. It was filled with people wearing all sorts of clothing. It was the first time that Urich had ever seen fashion like that. Not only could he hear Imperial, he could also hear the languages of the other kingdoms. Every step that he took was on paved roads, and he was even able to see the waterways and wells that he had heard about. The security level was so high that a pair of soldiers were stationed at each well to make sure that there was no one poisoning or pouring waste into it.

Step.

Urich approached a well, and a soldier glanced at him.

“Oi, bumpkin. If you want to drink water, bring a bowl. You’re not allowed to put your hands in the water,” said the soldier.

“Watch your mouth, soldier. This man is the Empire’s guest,” said Havald, trailing from behind. The soldier flinched after confirming Havald’s attire.

‘The Order of the Sun Warriors!’

Sun Warriors weren’t people that ordinary soldiers could talk back to. The soldier tried to read Urich and Havald’s moods.

“It’s alright. I’m fine. Of course I’m a bumpkin. Haha, how amazing. It’s my first time seeing something like this. Where do you get all of this water from?” asked Urich, laughing. He tapped on the soldier’s shoulder gently.

“A-Ahem. I have a cup here.”

The soldier pulled out a bronze cup from his waist. Urich took it and scooped water out of the well.

“Ahhh.”

Urich instinctively let out a sound that showed how refreshing the water was. He started to gulp it down. It tasted great. It didn’t taste like old stillwater at all.

“How is it, Urich?”

Havald was waiting for his reaction. The citizens of the Empire, especially Hamel’s citizens, were extremely proud of Hamel. They enjoyed the outsiders’ reactions to their city.

“...It’s phenomenal.”

Back in his motherland, there were a lot of times when they would be forced to endure and drink stillwater from the ground during droughts.Those who were weak would die from the contaminated water. Water was the origin of all life.

Urich looked at the end of the waterway. The waterway spread like spiderwebs and traveled above the buildings so that the water wouldn’t be contaminated. The waterways were the veins of the city, breathing life into it.

‘The Empire’s Heart.’

The entire city was like a single life form. The areas, which were built through the city planning, were also beautiful, like a work of art in and of itself. Even though it was a massive city with a hundred thousand people, it wasn’t difficult to get to the area that you wanted to go to as long as you followed the signs.

“Amazing. You should be proud of it. That you guys are soldiers protecting a place like this,” said Urich while returning the bronze cup to the soldier. The soldier pounded his chest as if it were obvious. His chainmail armor clattered.

“Of course, outsider. We have given everything for this city.”

The soldier’s pride soared to the sky. That was how high the city soldiers’ morales were.

‘How much time will have to pass for civilization to also birth in my home like this…?’

Suddenly, Urich felt sad. He despaired after feeling the massive gap.

‘My brothers will live their entire lives without ever knowing something like this. They will forever live in those tiny plains, talking about pointless things with the other tribes, believing that that's everything there is to the world…’

Suddenly, his chest felt stuffed. He wanted to let his brothers back home to also feel everything he saw and felt here. The sense of sublime he felt while peering into the grander world, and the overwhelming excitement he felt when learning of the unknown.

To eat and drink. To kill and die. That those weren’t the only things to life, and to strive for something greater—to truly feel alive.

Only after coming to the civilized world did Urich truly feel that he was alive. He found the meaning to life. He felt a sense of duty.

Explore and see. Step forward.

He heard a roaring voice within, telling him to do so.

He was joyous and despairing. He wanted to shout.

“Urich! There’s plenty of time for you to explore the city later. We’re going to be here for a long while,” shouted Fahel from afar. There were still two months left until he became an adult. They planned on staying in the capital until then.

“Sir Urich.”

Havald called out Urich‘s name with an honorific. He rated Urich’s performance in the duel very highly.

‘He is a warrior that wouldn’t be embarrassing to call Sir.’

The Order of the Sun Warriors valued honor amongst warriors as high as their faithfulness.

“If you ever have any interest in the Order of the Sun Warriors, you’re always welcome. While your knowledge about the doctrine might be shallow, you could always learn that.”

“Not interested.” Urich rejected it without hesitation. Havald was shocked as Urich’s words clearly showed that he didn’t even think about it.

“Hm… I don’t think you understand this, Sir Urich. I don’t propose something like this to just anyone. It is a huge honor to be a Sun Warrior.”

“That honor is not my honor.”

Havald closed his mouth for a second then carefully opened them again.

“Then what sort of honor are you searching for?”

“I don’t know that either. My heart just doesn’t move while serving other people or things like that. I’m just following things that make my heart beat.”

“Make your heart beat, hmm… But those are just sugar-coated words. You’re choosing a hedonistic life that only follows your desires, Sir Urich.”

“My desires aren’t bad. They aren’t hedonistic either.”

Urich was starting to get irritated. He was tired of Havald’s condescending tone.

“If you are a believer of Sol, it will be much better for you to faithfully follow Sol’s doctrines than following your dark desires. Are you not also a Sol believer?” Havald didn’t give an inch.

‘I can see why Sven wanted to kill Havald.’

An unwavering religious belief. Arrogance that was apparent from the way they talked, as if everything that they said was right. Skills and membership in a powerful group that propped up that arrogance.

Some would definitely see Havald as a very moral and good person. While Urich didn’t try to rescue the farmers, Havald rushed in to save them without hesitation.

‘The various ways in civilization.’

Urich respected the methods followed by the civilized. Even though he didn’t understand it at times, he left them alone.

“I don’t see why I should respect someone that doesn’t respect my ways of life. Havald, if one more fucking word comes out of your…”

The pleasant mood dissipated. Urich was about to insult and curse at Havald. His fingers were reaching for his sword.

“Urich!” yelled Fahel. He quickly got off Kilios and pulled Urich away.

“Who are you working for right now?” he asked, pulling on Urich’s arm as he spoke. His blue eyes were on Urich.

“Obviously, for you, the one who pays me,” Urich responded with a smirk.

“Then shut your mouth. If you’re a mercenary, act like one,” said Fahel, hitting on Urich’s chest as he spoke.

Urich cooled down his head before looking at Havald.

“Anyways, let’s be careful around one another, Sir Havald.”

Havald also recognized that his own words were a bit intense and nodded back. He was just an excessively religious person, but he was still a reasonable man. 

“Anyways, the Order of the Sun Warriors will always welcome warriors like you, Sir Urich.” He didn’t give up till the end. Urich grabbed his stomach and laughed.

‘Your Royal Highness, that was amazing,’ thought Phillion who was standing near the back. Phillion was drowning in emotions, teary-eyed from the interaction. Fahel stepped forth to de-escalate the situation before a fight between Urich and Havald could start. Just not too long ago, the prince didn’t have the dignity or acting power to do something like that.

‘That perilous experience matured His Royal Highness. Of course.’

Phillion was already imagining how Fahel would look during his coronation.

 

* * *

Reaper Scans

Translator – goguma

Proofreader – yukitokata

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Guests stayed in the Swallow Palace. It was named like that because guests would come and go like swallows, a type of migratory bird.

Fahel’s party, which was guided by Havald, stayed in the Swallow Palace for a couple days. Despite waiting, there was still no response for their request for an audience.

“What do you mean, you can’t schedule an audience?! What are you saying?!” yelled Phillion. Their request for asylum still wasn’t confirmed yet. Fahel was staying in the palace as a royal guest.

“His Imperial Majesty is always busy with governmental affairs. I will give you a date once it becomes time,” said the Swallow Palace’s government official. He was the officer that oversaw the entire Swallow Palace.

“He is Prince Varca anu Forlcana! Is a request for asylum something that could be so easily pushed back like this?!” Phillion continued. The officer’s expression didn’t change at all.

“Even if you say so, there is nothing that I can do, Sir Phillion. I am just an errand boy for those who stay in the Swallow Palace.”

Phillion’s face turned bright red.

‘I thought that everything would all be solved once we arrived at the imperial capital!’

They weren’t even able to catch a glimpse of the Emperor. It was to the point that they felt like storming the palace that the Emperor stayed at.

“Stop it, Sir Phillion,” said Fahel, walking out while wiping his sweat. He was on his way back after sparring with one of his guards. Recently, Fahel had been spending all of his free time training. He had acquired some muscle during that time. His arms got thicker, and there were some hints of muscle on his thin body.

“I greet Prince Varca anu Forlcana,” said the palace officer, showing respect. Fahel raised his hand to accept the greeting.

“It seems like the Emperor simply isn’t that interested in me. I mean, he probably thinks that a prince who couldn’t even protect his own seat and seeks asylum while being chased out isn’t worth looking at.” Fahel laughed. The palace officer shook his head.

“There are individuals who have had to wait multiple months for a single audience with the Emperor. He is just being pushed back by his work.”

Fahel looked at the palace official. It would be pointless to say anything to them.

“I apologize for making things difficult for you. Please, take your leave,” said Fahel, sending the official away. Phillion came up next to Fahel with an upset expression on his face.

“You are not just a guest, Your Royal Highness. You are the heir to the Forlcana Kingdom!”

“So what? Does an army magically appear from the sky because I am the successor? Does a military force rise from the ground to help me recover the throne?” sassed Fahel. Phillion shut his mouth.

“I know that you are doing this for me, Sir Phillion. But my status, my name, it’s nothing. That was what I learned during this journey. My status alone doesn’t make me king. I have to make myself king.”

“But you are of noble status, Your Royal Highness. No matter what anyone else says. For just that one aspect, you can sometimes be as forceful as you used to be.”

Fahel wiped his sweat with a towel while listening to Phillion’s words. He had seen a lot of people come and go from the Swallow Palace. There were a lot of people like Phillion who grabbed hold of the officers to complain to them.

‘The majority of the people here are waiting for an audience with the Emperor. I have seen multiple people give up after getting tired of waiting and return home even just within these two days.’

Perhaps Fahel could end up like that as well. He closed his eyes to think for a second, then opened them.

“Sir Phillion, please call Urich. He’s probably in the Order of the Sun Warriors’ training grounds right now.”

Phillion hid his complaints and nodded. During the past two days, Urich was often hanging out with the Sun Warriors. His ‘Armor Destroyer’ nickname pulled a lot of interest from them.

 

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