"The millennium capital…" Leguna muttered with awe at the sight of the impressive cityscape before him.
He had long heard that the millennium capital was a grand and prosperous city, but he only understood that what he heard about it weren't exaggerations at all. Instead, it felt like the rumors he heard wasn't nearly enough to capture the awe the city instilled in people.
Based on area alone, the millennium capital probably had no competition. The city was at least 50 square kilometers in area, 1.7 times the area of Starfall in Lance and twice the size of Melindor. The walls also reached the skies, being much higher than the walls of Seatide Leguna once scaled.
Come to think of it, it was rather weird. When Leguna saw the city, his train of thought automatically shifted to how he could conquer the place. Even though he hadn't received any formal military training and wasn't that talented a commander, he did learn quite a bit through his time in the bureau.
Considering the height and thickness of the wall, the people in the city as well as the layout of the defensive fortifications, Leguna concluded that there was no way to break into the city from the outside. Apart from the missing saint, Kevin, and Marolyt, no force, not even the 200-thousand-strong army of Hocke could take the city. The only viable method would be encirclement. But according to the information he had, he estimated that it would take at least five to ten years.
The thought of that made him realize that even though the two empires seemed to be in an intense fight, not one side could easily exterminate the other. It was just as much a physical war as a cultural one. While the nation and its institutions could be dissolved, the northern and southern cultures wouldn't just vanish. As long as there was a cultural difference, there would be division. And as Marolyt put it, division precludes conflict and conflict was the seed of war.
"Some people hate war and others relish in it, huh…humans really are an odd bunch. We're truly scum…" Leguna muttered as he entered the city with a lowered head.
It was just as the reports stated: the millennium capital wasn't that heavily guarded, perhaps due to the pride and arrogance of the southerners. Leguna didn't have much trouble in blending in and infiltrating the city.
He didn't feel any urgency on his current excursion since his journey to the millennium capital had been delayed for ten-odd days already. Since that was the case, he'd rather take a spin to see the city and experience the foreign culture here.
So, he found a clean and cheap inn to lodge in. When he was traveling through the battlefield, he disguised himself as a wandering mercenary, but in the millennium capital, he tried to look the part of a country bumpkin looking for opportunities in the city. Mercenaries were rather powerful people after all and would no doubt attract attention in the millennium capital.
In the following few days, Leguna sought out information about Sartre as he toured the city.
In a few short days, he experienced the cold demeanor behind the people of this prosperous city.
Even though less than three days had passed, Leguna had been cheated twice, scammed four times and somehow pissed off a low-order magus once. To prevent blowing his cover, he had no choice but to get beaten up without resisting. Fortunately, it was only a low-order magus. Even though that fellow was arrogant, he didn't really dare to beat him up so bad. So, Leguna endured a dozen punches and kicks.
Apart from his less than stellar experiences with people, he felt that his luck was rather good. He heard that Sartre would be hosting a five-day banquet in his estate, seemingly to show off Leguna's gear which he got from Jilroan.
And due to the lack of manpower, Sartre was looking for temporary guards and would be paying them fifty silvers as well as providing free leftover food and accommodation during the banquet.
Leguna was elated to hear about it. His weapons were practically being handed to him! Not only did he know where they were, he also had a good excuse to infiltrate the place. How considerate of Sartre!
Jilroan had quite a lot of descendants with his grandchildren numbering up to a hundred. So, while some of them had blood from the imperial family, that didn't bring them many benefits. They lived like normal civilians in the outskirts of the millennium capital and some understood that throwing their status and weight around wouldn't fly and opted for a military career, choosing to be emperors in their own right elsewhere.
According to the line of inheritance, Sartre was more or less like the other royal descendants. As long as they weren't in the top ten, Sartre's rank of 23 was no different than the others beneath him.
However, he was quite the fortunate person as his mother was the daughter of a rich merchant guild owner in the millennium capital. Even though his mother's status and power weren't enough to support Sartre's fight for the throne, it was enough for him to live out the rest of his life without worry.
So, Sartre was able to own a rather grand residence in a good part of the city. Additionally, given that the finances of Stok were getting rather tight, Jilroan had no choice but to borrow money from the various merchant guilds in the capital. As such, he was willing to grant Sartre's small requests from time to time. That was how he got his hands on Leguna's gear.
Naturally, the old fox wasn't just going to give the equipment away for free. He was a 19th-stratum magus after all and he knew the value of the items and managed to squeeze some thirty thousand gold coins from Sartre.
Sartre himself naturally didn't shy away at the chance to display his collection at any opportunity. Every half a year, he would host a banquet to show off his new additions and Leguna's gear was this year's main exhibit.
During the day of recruitment, Leguna woke up early in fear of missing out on the chance.
Even so, he saw a line about 20 meters long by the time he got there before the recruitment point was even open. Competition was rough no matter on which part of the continent he was.
Fortunately, the butler in charge of the recruitment didn't pick people for the job based only on how early they came. He would ask each applicant a few short questions and disqualify any that didn't fit the criteria.
"Thank goodness I'll have a chance," he said with relief.
But, not long after, he couldn't help but laugh. What was he so nervous about? Even if he didn't get the job, he could barge his way inside without issue. Only the escape would be slightly more dangerous. But as long as they weren't fully prepared, he was rather confident about his escape.
Just as he was feeling a little bored, someone not far ahead caught his eye.
It was a girl in her mid-teens that sported a blonde ponytail. Her hair color was quite similar to Innilis's and while she wasn't as pretty, she was above average and appeared to be a rather cute girl.
It was worth noting that her figure was petite just like Innilis's as well. Even her chest fell a little flat. She was hauling a large sack colored in faded blue, but it looked rather clean. It seemed quite odd to see such a large sack hanging off her small back. Leguna feared that the slightest nudge would send her crashing to the ground.
The reason he noticed her wasn't because she looked like Innilis, but because she was being picked on.
It was probably due to her small body; she always had her queue cut because of others. Most were in a rush to appeal to the butler, but they wouldn't dare swarming to the front in a disorderly manner. However, cutting in line wasn't that big a deal.
Some of them would slip in front of the girl silently while others would pretend to trip and end up in front of her.
The girl seemed to know that bringing it up would do no good, so all she did was look at those who cut in front of her without a word and purse her lips in dissatisfaction.
That kind of response only encouraged the others to do the same. When she was finally unable to bear it, she tried to reason with those people, but her pitiful look didn't pose any threat at all. Before she could get a word into those in front, someone from the back would pull her back and step in front of her. It happened so fast that even Leguna couldn't react!
Wow, isn't your footwork great? I should really ask you to teach me that some time, he thought. Men and women alike are bullying her. I didn't Stokians would be so shameless!
Perhaps because she reminded him of Innilis, Leguna got madder and madder at the sight. It didn't take long before the girl was pushed back in front of him.
Umm… please, I really need this job…" the girl said, thinking that Leguna was scowling at her.
Tears started rolling about in her deep blue eyes.Previous Chapter Next Chapter