109. Chapter 109 – The Labyrinth City, Belgana
The Labyrinth City, Belgana―― the land where there was one of the largest labyrinths on the continent, and whose prosperity was promised by the resources and relics brought from it.
However, wherever there was a dazzling light, there was always a dark shadow.
Since old times, the city had changed rulers so many times that the blood that had flowed didn’t even have time to dry, and even now, such a bloody struggle still continued.
Beginning with a border battle with the Liberitoa Trade Federation, Walm had fought against many nations, each with a variety of military ranks and terrain. His experience made him able to somewhat read the battle that had broken out around Belgana.
The innumerable ruins of different campsites and various defensive facilities were proof that the rulers had changed as the usurpers rushed in. Such was a history of the place.
“Even though I haven’t even entered the city yet, there sure is a lot of traffic.”
The appearance of the people was various. Lightly dressed travelers, merchants with wagons and wheelbarrows, peasants with cattle full of crops, and adventurers. Such a wide variety of people and goods coming in and out, was evidence of a prosperous economy.
The labyrinth was a resource production area where a large amount of consumption sprung. Also, a labyrinth would be a suitable stage for those dreaming of a one-shot reversal and wanting to rise to fame. Of course, Walm also knew from information about the dark side of such a dazzling stage. That there was no end to the number of people who went bankrupt because their dreams were shattered, and those who had their flesh, blood, and souls swallowed up by the labyrinth.
The sea voyage had a positive effect on Walm in terms of knowledge. After all, people who could travel long distances by boarding merchant ships were hardly among the poor. In a world where people struggled to gather information, information from people with multiple social ties was valuable.
Together, Walm and those people overcame the crisis of a powerful monster attack, and after being forced to take a long sea voyage, their mouths became lighter.
No doubt, Walm listened to what they said seriously. Thanks to that, he got much information and was fortunate enough to be able to get the information of the general people living in Belgana, the environment, the situation, etc. in advance.
As Walm approached the city, the number of patrol soldiers wearing well-manicured armor from head to toe, increased. They were keeping an eye on passersby.
“Don’t park your wagon on the road. This isn’t your road. Move to the edge.”
“I’m sorry, I’m really ignorant…… Oi, listen to what I say. Or I’ll mince you.”
Walm had no way of knowing whether there was a problem with the wagon or whether it was a rebellious period of the cow, but the farmer apologized profusely after being scolded by the patrol soldiers, and hurriedly grabbed the cow by the nose ring and pulled it to the side of the road.
“This is the second time. Can’t you do it right already?! Look, this place has a lot of traffic. If any disturb it, there won’t be any excuses that will stop me from getting rid of it.”
“I’m really sorry, I’ll listen to what you say, so please forgive me.”
“Anyway, do something with this cheeky cow of yours. You don’t want to be fined or whipped together with the cow, do you?”
The confidence the guard soldiers had acquired through experience and training could be seen in their impeccable posture. The presence of these well-trained soldiers, should be enough as a deterrent to crime.
The Labyrinth City, Belgana, was governed by Marquis Borgia, an influential aristocrat on the mainland of the Galmud Archipelago. Marquis Borgia had 3,000 ready-to-use regular soldiers in the city alone. Including those who were stuck at the border, in total it would be about 40,000 soldiers. Even in peacetime, they could feed that many soldiers. The unwavering financial strength that could manage all of that was truly immeasurable.
That said, Walm, who had doubts that the military strength was too excessive, was convinced by the map shown on the ship. After all, Marquis Borgia’s territory was a dangerous zone where the territory was in direct contact with the Republic of Maylis and the Aleinard Forest Alliance.
Thousands of soldiers would glare at each other even in skirmishes, and hundreds of thousands of soldiers would undoubtedly be mobilized if a full-scale conflict ever began.
It wasn’t hard to imagine that if the three major powers on the continent, which even managed to kill a dragon in the past, went to full-scale war, the red-blood sea would surely spread over this land. Fortunately, no war had broken out in the last few decades despite the mild tensions here and there. Not enough to be something Walm should worry about.
The appearance of Walm, who was curiously staring at the cityscape, was exactly the same as a country boy who came to the city in the previous world. At the very least, so that no one would notice his gaze, he held the position of his neck and head, picking up the scenery with only his eyes.
Walm finally reached the outer edge, but it wasn’t yet the Labyrinth City.
Belgana was a city where ramparts surrounded the great labyrinth, and along with its development, more facilities had been added. The houses in which people lived also showed expansion in line with the increase in population. To the point where houses must be built outside the walls. Now, there were more buildings outside the walls than inside the walls.
“Well, it’s good to finally arrive here, but… hah, I don’t know right or left.”
Walm, who had no familiarity with the city he was visiting for the first time, proceeded in the direction of a large number of people, while relying on the ramparts that seemed distant. On his way, he noticed that even the buildings outside the castle were larger than those in an average city.
Occasionally, the visitors who had just arrived in Belgana could be seen standing dumbfounded on the side of the road, probably drunk by the atmosphere after being swallowed by the waves of people. Walm felt a sense of familiarity with this situation, but there was a clear difference between them. In the previous world, Walm had crossed the rough sea of 180% occupied train many times. For such a former corporate warrior, this level of the crowd was like a ripple, not enough to swallow him, rather, he felt nostalgic.
Matching the stride and speed, Walm naturally weaved through the gaps between people. The place where he arrived after riding the wave of people was the gate. Although there wasn’t a moat, two gate towers were built, an outer gate and an inner gate. Gaps for throwing stones and bows were set up, and the figures of soldiers were scattered on the ramparts.
“That’s not it…… it’s really a bad habit of mine. No, it must be an occupational disease.”
Before noticing it, Walm had started evaluating the defensive facility in front of him while examining multiple factors. Even though he was now nothing more than a mere remnant of a defeated army.
I’m no longer a soldier…
Confirming the height of the walls by eye, any blind spots, and the place that could be used as a foothold… I’m not a spy, I don’t need to do such scouting.
――With a bitter frown, Walm shifted his mind.
About ten soldiers were calling people out. Watching from afar, Walm grasped what was going on.
The soldiers were collecting a toll to enter. There seemed to be an exception. There was a person who was allowed to pass without giving anything, but that person had what appeared to be a pass engraved with the seal of the Marquis.
Must be the people who live or own the store inside…
“So… the gate is used as a checking station huh? No wonder outside the wall turned like this. It must be a place where people who don’t like the toll tax, or those who can’t pay it choose to live.”
Walm wasn’t willing to cause trouble with culture or tacit understanding.
Should I collect more information before going inside?
……In that case, I need to look for taverns and restaurants for locals. After all, it’s one of the few sources of information for those who have no connections.
Walm recalled the route to the gate, but there was no short in his memory and he remembered it well.
After leaving the main street, Walm began to explore his surroundings, using his senses of hearing and smell in addition to his sight. Though it might sound as if he was a dog, those were the senses that Walm had cultivated on the battlefield, and based on its track record, it was worth believing.
In fact, as if the hearing and smell were showing off their capabilities, it wasn’t that long before a tavern for the masses was found.
Thus, Walm went to gather information for a while.
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