The Fallen Capital
I don’t know why the low-grade potions or the demon repellant sell for 200 times the price, but this may be better. Not only am I getting more than I expected, I also no longer have to go through the trouble of finding a buyer.
Thinking about it, I’d be selling a total of nine potions for one gold. From my pouch, I handed them three demon repellants and five low-grade potions. They set the potions in a magic box that was designed for storing potions for an extended period of time.
Hmm, that’s something used to store much higher quality potions. It’s designed to preserve the effects of potions for years with no degradation in their quality. I’m an alchemist and I don’t have something so rare. It’s expensive because it uses devil stones to preserve the potions.
When a potion leaves the area it was made, or more specifically, when a potion leaves the area with the vein in which the drop of life was taken from, the drop of life will quickly evaporate and all that will be left is just medicinal water. If you put the potion in a storage box like this, even if you leave the area of the vein, the deterioration of the potion will be suppressed. So it isn’t that strange that the Black Iron Transportation Corps who is traveling throughout many different areas would own such a storage box. However, considering how expensive the devil stone is, it seems strange to use such an expensive material to store low-grade potions. Although, if the potion is actually worth one large silver coin, it may be worth using this storage box.
The money was handed to me by the man that was earlier whispering to Captain Dick.
This man is rather slender and elegant compared to the stern appearance of Captain Dick. He has loose, wavy blonde hair tied back behind his head and emerald green eyes. There’s something different about the way he acts as well. The way he carries himself reminds me of a nobleman. It appears this man’s name is Marlowe. By the way, Itome-kun’s name is actually Lynx-kun.
I never actually introduced myself, and so, I made sure to properly greet them.
“Mariella-san? Do you have any plans to sell more potions?”
He asks me this with a smile, but his eyes are definitely not smiling. I’m guessing he’s saying if I plan to sell anymore, then I must sell the potions to them. I’m terrible when it comes to finding out people’s true intentions.
“If I have the required components, then I will be glad to sell them.”
I give an obscure answer. It’s difficult for me to read the situation and so I feel a little bad.
The Black Iron Transport Corps has agreed to take me to the labyrinth city.
I was offered a seat in the carriage, but I was afraid of the iron box with almost no windows. Plus, I would like to see what the stampede has done to the world. I told them, “It’s not that far to town,” and I was given a spot on the back of the carriage.
By the way, my herb skirt has been removed and is now hanging off the side of the carriage.
“Ha~, I’ll sit here too.”
Lynx sits down next to me. The seat on the back of the carriage is wide, but it’s cramped with two people.
They may be trying to keep a close eye on me.
I didn’t feel uncomfortable as Lynx casually shortened the distance between us.
The iron carriage continued on down the road. Although the carriage was moving rather slowly, the ride wasn’t very smooth. This is the first time I’ve been on a carriage. If the journey was longer I’m afraid my butt would start to hurt due to the bouncing carriage. We’re moving slowly, yet the carriage is shaking this much. How bad would it be if we were to go much faster? I’m afraid I’d get dizzy from the bouncing and may even fall off the back of the carriage.
When I voiced my concerns to Lynx, he reassured me it was unlikely for us to encounter any demons this close to town. On top of that, the sun was still high in the sky. This is why they could continue on without much worry. The forest wolves from earlier had been chasing them from some far off place. Lynx explained that they would chase the wolves away once they got to this area. This would prevent any of the demons from reaching the city.
“Anyway, where do you live, Mariella?”
“I used to live in the forest, but for one reason or another it’s become unlivable….”
I casually looked around my surroundings while trying to avoid Lynx’s question.
We should be reaching the defensive city soon.
As they grew closer to the defensive city, Mariella began to feel anxious. Lynx must have noticed this and tried to reassure her.
“It’s okay. It’s still daytime. You don’t have to worry about any zombies or wraiths coming out. Well, no matter how many times I pass through this place, I never get used to it. It’s not a pleasant place to visit.”
The carriage arrived where the defensive city….should have been.
I had my suspicions. They kept calling this place the, “Labyrinth City.”
But I feel like the stampede only happened yesterday.
All of the buildings lined up in the city,
The shops overflowing with various goods,
The food vendors lining the streets with their delicious smells attracting anyone nearby,
The noise from the lively adventurers,
I could remember it all so clearly.
There was no trace of the buildings that reminded me of ant hills from the many improvements they had gone through,
Even the massive stores which carried many different items were reduced to nothing but rubble.
Even the smell of the sweets and foreign cuisines being sold by the food vendors was gone. All that remained now was the smell of trees and grass.
Not a single sound came from this now destroyed city.
“This town could even rival the Imperial City, yet it was destroyed overnight. It’s dreadful to even think about it. Are you okay? You look really pale.”
I rarely talked with any of the people here, but they were all kind to me.
“Were there any survivors…..I mean, did anyone escape……”
I was clearly acting strangely, but I needed to know.
“Huh? Oh, you mean in the labyrinth city? There are survivors, well, I mean their descendants anyway.”
That’s good. At least some people survived.
I was about to let out a sigh of relief when I heard Lynx’s words.
“Well, that was over 200 years ago. It’s almost like a fairy tale now.”
I was asleep for that long?
I was left speechless at this inordinate amount of time.
Lynx continued talking, but his words did not reach Mariella.
I was still overwhelmed after hearing the defensive city had been destroyed and I had been sleeping for 200 years. After Lynx tapped me on the shoulder, I finally came to my senses.
“I-I’m sorry. I guess I’m a little tired.”
“Well, you were out on your own in the Demon Forest. It makes sense that you’d be tired, but we’ve arrived at the labyrinth city.”
At some point, the armored carriage had come to a stop. Vice-Captain Marlowe seems to be requesting entry through the gates.
I climbed down from the carriage and saw a familiar wall in front of me.
The former Kingdom of Endalgia, now the labyrinth city.
The familiar white walls that once surrounded the city of Endalgia.
The walls must have been destroyed during the stampede.
One side of the outer walls was white and I could see there had been many repairs made to the walls. There were daisy vines (which hide your presence from demons by absorbing the magical power in the atmosphere) covering one side of the wall.
There was a large gap between the outer walls and the forest. In this space I could see Boromintella, the medicinal herb used to repel demons, growing.
Both of these herbs were planted around my hut in the forest as well. These plants are a necessity for people living in an area with demons. But these plants created a frightening site when combined with the contrasting white walls of Endalgia. The vines from the Daisy plant crept along the walls like a blood vein and the field of Boromintella looked like a sea of red due to the plants purple and red leaves.
After 200 years, the glory of the Kingdom of Endalgia was now nothing but a fairy tale.
The main gate on the outer walls, which was always open except in emergency situations, now sat closed. There was now a small side entrance that only one person could pass through at a time. This door also had several guards blocking the entrance. Captain Dick seemed to know the guard at the side entrance and, after exchanging a few words with each other, I could hear the sound of the large gate beginning to open. I sat on the armored carriage as it passed through the gate and entered the city.
The scene beyond the gate was unrecognizable.
Unlike the outer defensive city, the capital of Endalgia had many large buildings made of stone. Some of these stone buildings still remained standing while the outer defensive city had been completely overtaken by the forest.
Nevertheless, more than half of the large mansions in the capital were now nothing but rubble. The remaining buildings were rundown and had been repaired with random pieces of stone and wood. The people that repaired these buildings obviously had functionality, rather than aesthetics, in mind. The beautiful buildings of Endalgia patched here and there with discolored rocks and wood. It gives the viewer a sense of unease, similar to seeing a beautiful work of art smeared with mud.
The main street was made of cobblestone and had seasonal flowers on either side. Now, you could see patches of dirt in the road where the stones had been removed to use for repairs. The remaining cobblestone had fine cracks all around it. Instead of the flowers lining the road, you could now see the occasional makeshift stall of a trader.
Every person passing by was either a guard or an experienced adventurer. In a small side alley, I could see an injured labourer crouched down. I wonder if he is unable to find work.
If a person that had seen the capital at its peak were to see the condition it is in now, they would likely shed a tear or two. However, I was more affected by the site of the outer defensive city.
The capital was a place for the citizens of Endalgia. The capital was no place for refugees like Mariella.
The grand gate leading to the capital was left open to show off the magnificence of the city, but it was not welcoming to refugees. Mariella was only able to pass through the grand gate on one occasion; when she needed to attend the ceremony to become an alchemist.
Mariella was unconcerned with the transformation within the city gates and she was able to regain her composure.
“Hey, Mariella. Since you haven’t decided where you’ll be staying tonight, how about staying with us? This area isn’t exactly the safest place. There are all sorts of shady people around here. We need to unload the carriage first, but that won’t take long. So how about coming with us?”
It seems they won’t be releasing me even though we’ve reached the city.
Since they first met, it’s been fairly obvious they only want my potions. Their intentions were pretty clear. I’m a little worried if I’ll be able to negotiate properly.
But, they do seem genuinely worried about me….
They paid for the potions and never tried to intimidate or restrain me. We were alone in the forest for at least an hour, if they wanted to do anything that would have been the time. I don’t know if I can trust them yet, but staying with them seems better than going out on my own when I know nothing of this new world.
“Thank you, it would be a great help.”
I convey my honest feelings and Lynx just smiled in reply.