Weekly chapters (2/2)
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Chapter 116 – Heinz After 1 Year
[Oh! Good job! It’s great that you made it!]
Elmer, who had moved from the royal capital to Heinz for a year already, greeted me.
We were architectural colleagues back at the royal capital. His house happened to be right next to mine so our family really got along well back then.
That was… until Elmer decided to immigrate with his family to Heinz.
I hesitated to immigrate at first as there were many sad stories about those immigrants after all. Especially if they were poor people… like us.
However… comparing the current Elmer with the current me, anyone would be surprised by the difference.
Not only did Elmer’s skill look more ruddy and bright, he seemed to have gained some weight as well. On the other hand, I… not only tired from travelling, but I was also thin and pale faced. It was probably obvious just what kind of hardships I’ve been through.
[Dennis… it has been tough, hasn’t it…]
Elmer shed tears when he saw me. Have I…really changed that much…?
The treatment for civilians in the Royal Capital was not that good to begin with. Public security was not maintained and jobs were scarce. Even if I had been working, I still had difficulties feeding my family.
Especially the year after Elmer left. The royal capital further lost its integrity after the rumour about war with Thracia spread. More and more people resorted to crime due to the stress, all the while the law enforcers were full of corrupt officers that only acted depending on the bribe they received. In addition to that, the power struggle between the aristocrats only intensified with the people caught in the crossfire.
It became harder to get a stable job, making it even more difficult to procure daily necessities. But one day, a letter from Elmer arrived on my doorstep.
The content of the letter was… that he’s living happily with his family at Heinz, and a recommendation to immigrate.
[It should be fine to do the immigration procedure tomorrow. Anyways, come with me today! I’ve prepared a welcoming party for you all!]
With that said, Elmer brought me and my family here.
We were on unfamiliar land, so we looked around as we walked… and were shocked by what we saw which made us think:
What in the world is going on with this city? Isn’t it already looking as if it’s more advanced than the capital?
The houses were all made of bricks. Each of them looks beautiful with their walls covered in murals. How elaborate this is… I would appreciate it because I used to work as an architect.
Elmer kept walking on. And as we followed him while in daze… we arrived at yet another shocking building.
It’s a… three, four no, five story high rise building.
I involuntarily shouted.
[What is it?]
[What building is that?]
Elmer glanced at the building and smiled.
[Ah, that is an apartment.]
[Since the population kept increasing while the available plot to build houses is running out, that building was built under the lord’s direction. It was the idea of Oliver-sama, the person in charge of city development. It’s a kind of building you probably never saw before. That lad is also reinforced with steel and it’s been through various tests to see if it could withstand an earthquake.]
What does that even mean? Are commoners even allowed to live in such an exquisite building normally set aside for aristocrats?
[Wait a minute, did you say that the building is meant to house the citizens?]
[That’s right. Several families have already lived in their own rooms there… ah, it’s like the rowhouse in the royal capital.]
I must be dreaming. I always thought that Grants was a land rife with monsters and danger. As it’s an underdeveloped land, I imagined the houses would be tattered and disorganized… but turned out, this place seemed even more developed than the Royal capital.
[Isn’t this strange? How come there are even more of those kinds of buildings? Are there a lot of workers here?]
Elmer simply grinned as a response then pointed at the waterway that was still under construction.
[Let’s move on over there. You’ll understand once we got there.]
When we got there as told… I screamed.
There were many skeletons and golems there.
[Look closely, those’re not the only things, you know?]
He tapped my back while chuckling. Elmer seemed to take the scene rather calmly compared to me. And I was even more amazed when I looked closely as suggested.
There were several men working alongside the skeletons.
[Oi! What’s going on here!?]
[Those skeletons and golems are workers. They don’t get tired because they’re powered by magic stones. They can’t do fine detailed stuff but are great for simple works. Because of them… this city has been developing at such a fast pace.]
One of the skeletons raised its face, apparently noticing us. It actually stopped working for a bit to wave at us. Seeing that, Elmer smiled and responded in kind.
[Well? Interesting, isn’t it?]
Rather than interesting, what’s with that? This city is…
By the way, there were demihumans among the passersby. And just when I was about to ask Elmer… a demon also passed by.
[Ah, are you concerned with the beastkins?]
[Why of course I am. What’s with them? They’re slaves and yet they act very complacent and at ease…]
[That’s because you’re still stuck with the old thinking from when you lived in the capital. Here, they are just regular citizens like us.]
Elmer explained to me with a serious face.
[There is no slave system in the city. And there is no one acting like those corrupt officials and aristocrats here either. The officials are sincere and the guards are strict… and above all, the ruler of this place, he is certainly a trustworthy man.]
Then Elmer tapped my back once more.
[That’s exactly why I invited you here in the first place, Dennis. In a few months, you’ll definitely understand the wonder of this city.]
[Yes, I’m coming in.]
My wife greeted me as I closed the door behind me. We’re now living in a room inside the recently built four story apartment.
A month has passed since our family moved into this city.
Everyday had been full of astonishing surprises one after another.
Not only housing, but everything was also in order at Heinz.
The city has a sanitized waterway and sewage system. All the lavatories were flush-type. The city roads were paved with cobblestones up to its alleyways, and the waterways were in places. A lot of luggage was carried by boats via the waterways.
The stores along the main street were lively. There are plenty of foods that couldn’t be found even at the capital and they even sold bread cheaply. Before this, I’d never imagine the day when I could eat white bread everyday.
I also heard that the quality of food served in the restaurants and stalls had gone up in quality to an unprecedented level during this past six months.
And then… the cold ale. This beverage left a deep impact within my very soul. I would work myself like hell if I could have a taste of it every so often.
My kids are now studying at school. In Heinz, it’s compulsory to find education at school. They went to the same school where Elmer’s and my other neighbor’s kids go. This kind of thing was impossible back at the royal capital.
[Dennis, how do you turn this on?]
[Nn? Ah, here…]
I’m currently working as a site supervisor for the civil engineering business. I could make use of what I’ve learned on the royal capital. At the moment, Heinz required all the help they could get, that’s why they let everyone choose their own job. It’s to develop human resources as well.
And now…I even worked alongside a beastkin.
Honestly, I used to not get along well with demihumans. Because I have had this prejudice since I was a kid.
Humans are of a higher existence than the demihuman… I had always followed that teaching of the church. But now that I’ve moved to Heinz, I decided to learn to change my view.
They warmly welcome us when we are in trouble in this unfamiliar land. They helped us. They… are pretty much as 『human』as any of us.
My kids also made a lot of friends with many of them. Sure, they’re better in terms of athletics. But that doesn’t mean bullying would happen.
Yes… this place is very equal.
Even the temple in Heinz… teaches that everyone should be equal. That is the true 『truth』.
I’m actually unable to tolerate the humans and churches on the empire for discriminating demihumans now. What did they do to deserve such a thing?
There will be no end to it if I were to talk about the splendor of this city. But first and foremost… I don’t think anyone will have to fear about tomorrow’s meal or unreasonable violence and discrimination.
The city is still developing. More people are gathering after hearing the rumour spread in various places…
I think our lord will accept them all. Because… he’s that kind of man.
Ares-sama… sometimes I saw him around the city. Patrolling, both officially and incognito. But the hot spring facility is the most likely place to coincidentally meet him.
He’d talk to commoners, even ate at the street stalls… at first glance, he doesn’t look like those aristocrats back at the capital.
For the people of Heinz, he is someone that we would willingly support almost to the point of worship.
This peaceful place was his work after all.
Unlike those false aristocrats in the royal capital… he truly did things for the people. I don’t think there is anyone who would consider and think through everything for our happiness more than him.
For that man. And to maintain this peaceful place, I would willingly lay down my life… maybe everyone living in this city would think the same. Including me.