A gentle breeze swayed my clothes as we walked. The empire wall looked more and more gigantic the closer we got to it.
Its excessive length reminds me of the Great Wall of China. Our road ends on a gate that's closed.
Instead there's three men seemingly the gatekeepers chatting around while sitting on the ground.
We can't get in the empire with the gate closed. Having no other choice, I walked up and spoke to them.
"Excuse me, is there a reason why this gate is closed? May I ask to get it open and let us pass?"
"Oy, you guys, don't tell me you got here through the forest path?"
The guard asked back with a look of surprise instead. I nodded to that unwillingly so this conversation could progress.
"Well I'll be. That road's open and all, but with so many magic beasts prowling around, most folk never used it. Things can get dicey without a Grudos ya know?"
I got interested hearing Grudos. Saw two of them in the forest.
"Did some travelers riding them come here?"
One passed by us quickly and the other was Tagdes we saved along the way.
"Ou, yeah think there was a carriage yesterday. And oh yeah, another flustered man before that one."
I knew that Tagdes would be fine since we didn't spot a wreckage along the way, and it seemed he really did arrive safely. Would have nagged on my mind had he got attacked by magic beasts afterward. Thankfully not.
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
"So uh, getting back to my question."
"Oh, my bad. Ya can't get through this gate. Sorry. There's another open gate at the other side of this wall. Ya gotta walk quite a bit tho'. Go over there."
He pointed at the horizon and I couldn't even see this open gate. I threw a question seeing as walking there would be daunting.
"Why isn't this open? ...Ah, because of magic beasts?"
"Ou, there's quite a distance from the forest but ya can never be too careful, so this gate's permanently closed. Just ya know, us demoted folk gotta do this boring lookout job every single day."
Makes sense that it's to do with magic beasts. And since he started blabbing about private matters I never asked, I cut our conversation short.
"Is that so. Then we'll be going. Thank you for your hard work."
"Ou, careful now. Whoa, almost forgot. Welcome to the empire."
Apparently that's akin to a custom for gatekeepers to incoming people, they lost interest on us and started chatting after he said that.
After walking for quite a bit, we finally saw the open gate. A long line of people is queuing for inspections in front of it. Decreasing gradually.
"Alright, let's line up. Still, man how is this thing so big."
I could see the townscape now that I'm standing near the gate, and far beyond is the outline of a castle.
The structure looks overwhelming even from this distance. I can't even imagine its scale. No, it'd be weirder if I could.
I waited our turn while thinking the great memories we'd make if we could tour that.