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The construction of the first two buildings ordered by Sennachi in the city of Ris, was, the Shrine of Enlil and the Imperial Palace, as he wanted to make the city his capital in this region. In the mind of the emperor, in addition to the original Assyrian capital of Nineveh, he wanted to build two more secondary capitals, and the other one would be in the Plains of Duc. He even decided on the address already, which was the current location of the city of Salem.
The Shrine of Enlil was easy to do, as it only required the original Shrine of Marduc in the city to be renovated. The main building would remain, while the main statue of the god would be replaced by Enlil. But converting the original residence of the city lord into a palace was a bit of a problem. Sennachi found the residence too shabby, so he ordered the destruction and reconstruction of the nearby buildings, as he wanted a grand and luxurious palace.
The Assyrian Empire launched a large number of newly conquered slaves to build the palace for Sennachi. As the schedule was very tight, many craftsmen and slaves died of exhaustion in the quarry, while many others were cruelly punished for not completing the task on time. Currently the palace was still under construction, but the main hall and Sennachi’s residence had been completed. Sennachi planned to marry Princess Sissila here, and Princess Sissila would also live in this secondary capital’s palace after the wedding.
Sennachi sent a bridal party to Bablon City, both to welcome the bride and to protect her safety, for a rumor had at some point spread through the kingdom that someone was going to assassinate Princess Sissila, probably a fanatic of the Assyrian military, in order to stop Sennachi’s decision to end the war by marrying Princess Sissila.
This rumor was interesting, as there may be individual extremists in the Assyrian military who have had this idea, but it was the main forces in the Bablon Kingdom who really wanted to do it, yet for another purpose. Since there were such rumors, the Assyrian Empire naturally wanted to protect the princess and ensure that she arrived at Ris safely. The Bablon Kingdom also sent an escort team, and some warriors who worshipped Princess Sissila also spontaneously followed behind the caravan to escort the princess out of the country.
The procession was complicated enough, with the Assyrian royal guards in the front, the Bablon Kingdom’s guards in the middle to escort the princess, and some warriors with their own weapons and rations trailing far behind the long caravan. In order to reach Sennachi’s palace from the city of Bablon, such a huge caravan needed to travel for more than half a month along the west bank of the Ris River, sojourning in several towns along the way.
Despite everyone’s vigilance to prevent the appearance of assassins, the journey out of Bablon City was calm and quiet. Nothing unusual happened, but there were many people expressing their respect to the princess at the roadside. Some were shedding tears, others were singing psalms, and some representatives of the nobility of the towns paid their respects to the princess and offered gifts. The princess did not see the guests, and all the gifts were received and thanks conveyed by the supreme mage Peri, who was accompanying her.
On the third day, there was finally a little situation. People almost thought that assassins had come, but it turned out to be a misunderstanding.
That morning, soon after the princess’s caravan left the town they camped at, they passed through a lush green field, and the official road ahead of them turned a corner. There was a small hill on the left, with a knee-high grassy slope. The caravan passed just halfway down the hill when a man’s voice shouted from the top of the hill: “Princess Sissila, I’m coming to protect you!”
The man’s voice carried so far that the whole caravan heard it, and his voice caused a commotion. The guards and warriors in front and behind turned around, bows were strung, swords were sheathed, while Peri jumped on top of the princess’ carriage with his staff in hand. The best trained Assyrian warriors at the front had also turned their horses and ran in formation to the foot of the hill, raising their heavy crossbows.
There was only one man on top of the hill, wearing shining silver armor, the most dazzling warrior’s armor on the continent, made of Damasc iron covered with sunken silver, and engraved with magic formation patterns. The man did not carry a sword, but there was a slightly curved fang-like scimitar hanging on his waist. His weapon did not have a sheath but was tied with a ribbon on the hilt, while the long hilt resembled a short staff, the end of which was inlaid with a Pyrosprite.
He was in a tense atmosphere, but he looked complacent, and he strode down the hill with a smile. At this time, the leader of the bridal party from the Assyrian Empire, Kripps, led the cavalry in an arc around the foot of the hill and shouted: “Stop, please do not trespass on the princess carriage, or we will not hesitate to kill you!”
As if he did not hear a thing, Metatro waved at Peri from afar. “Peri, we meet again! I am Metatro, remember? I heard that you are now a supreme mage, at least eighth-level, right?”
When Metrato was talking, he did not slow down and continued taking large strides forward, until he had entered the range of the heavy crossbows. Peri frowned and was about to reply, but the sound of strings being released was heard, and all the cavalry of the Assyrian Empire had released their arrows at the same time.
They only listened to the captain’s orders, and just now Kripps had already ordered Metatro to stand still, but Metatro did not. These people were used to killing people on the battlefield, and as soon as Metatro came into range, they immediately shot their crossbows without thinking. The heavy crossbow arrows, shot by strong warriors, were powerful enough to pierce a bull and turn Metatro into a hedgehog in the blink of an eye, and many people behind the caravan had already let out shouts of surprise.
However, Metatro did not even draw his sword, neither did he dodge nor block, not even stopping. He reached out and waved his hand, moving so fast that he left a series of shadows in the air, as if that one arm had turned into countless arms, and surprisingly grabbed all these crossbow arrows in his hand. Although the distance was a bit far, if one used a hand to grab the arrow shaft shot from the heavy crossbow, the average person’s palm would have its flesh scraped off by the friction. But for Metatro, it seemed as easy as grabbing a handful of grass stems.
After the cry of surprise, everyone drew a cold breath. Kripps had drawn his sword, the cavalry under him raised their pikes and formed a charge, understanding in their hearts that they had met a formidable opponent. At that moment, people heard a shout: “Stop! This warrior is my friend, he is here to protect me, did you not hear?”
The crowd looked up, only to see Princess Sissila had parted the curtain to stand in front of the carriage. Her body looked a little frail, and her hair gently fluttered in the morning breeze, but the pretty face was ice cold, and her tone had a kind of awe-inspiring irresistible majesty to it.
Metatro once again shouted in a lively voice: “Do you hear? Her Highness called me over, quickly put down your weapons!” At these words, he was already walking towards the caravan at the foot of the hill.
Kripps rode his horse to Princess Sissila and said in a dissatisfied voice: “Your Highness, this man is very skilled and his intention is unknown, you can not make such decisions by yourself!”
Princess Sissila retorted: “Unknown? When I was kidnapped by the giants, he saved me and escorted me all the way back to the kingdom. Of course, you don’t know this man, but he is my friend. Peri can testify!”
Peri, who had already jumped out of the car, explained with some embarrassment: “Yes, this man’s name is Metatro, who did rescue and protect the princess, and she rewarded him with a noble warrior’s status, but…”
Princess Sissila interrupted with a sullen face: “But what! He is my savior, a noble knight, and he has come all the way to escort me! What is wrong with that?”
Kripps started complaining in his heart when he heard that. Many warriors worshipped and followed Princess Sissila, and dozens of them followed the caravan, but those people were not members of the official guard, so they were not allowed to disturb the princess’ carriage and could only bring their own rations on the journey. But Metatro strutted over in such a pompous fashion to greet the princess, even alerting the guards.
Kripps straightened his neck and shouted: “I was ordered by Emperor Sennachi to protect the safety of the princess, so I am responsible for all the escort services on the road! I will not allow this dangerous and unknown person to approach your carriage!
The princess showed her anger and sternly rebuked: “Kripps, do you want to commit treason? Whether this man is trustworthy or not is not up to you, but only up to me! You should be fully aware of who I am, as well as who I will be in Assyria! If he is not trustworthy, then there is no one here, including you, who is trustworthy. I will not hinder you from carrying out Sennachi the Great’s orders, but please consider your own identity and future fate as well! Guards, disperse and invite that hero over!”
Kripps choked for a moment, and his face turned red as he was unable to speak. He was one of the captains of Sennachi’s palace guards and a supreme warrior who was sent to carry out the mission of welcoming the bride. But Princess Sissila’s words threw a bucket of cold water on his head, a frightening warning to him.
The princess was going to marry Sennachi and become the queen of the Assyrian Empire. No matter what her intentions were, once she became queen, even if she only managed to obtain Sennachi’s favor momentarily, it would not be difficult for her to find an opportunity to get rid of the captain. If Princess Sissila deliberately wanted to kill a certain someone to vent her anger, would Sennachi go along with the queen’s wishes or defend his captain of the guard?
The words of Princess Sissila were clearly implying – do not go against me here, even if you have some power right now when I become the Assyrian Queen in the future, do you think you can escape unscathed?
Kripps’ mind turned quickly and realized that the princess in front of him was not someone to be messed with, so he bowed on his horse and said: “Your Highness, I was simply thinking of your safety. Since you trust him absolutely, then let him come.” Then with a wave of his hand, he ordered the cavalry under his command to make way.
Metatro walked up to the princess’ carriage and greeted Princess Sissila: “My beautiful princess, do you remember what you said back then? When I escorted you from Arcade back to the capital of Bablon, you said, on the day of your wedding, you will let warriors like us accompany you. I always remembered that, so I rushed here today.”
Princess Sissila did say these words, but at that time she was joking with the guards around. Someone had asked her when she was going to marry Gilgamesh, and Princess Sissila did not answer positively, so she said something like that. And right now, she was indeed going to get married, except the one, she was going to marry had become Sennachi the Great.
Princess Sissila looked at Metatro, and for some reason, her heart welled up with endless emotions. She wanted to show a noble smile, but this smile was very faint, and she elegantly waved a hand as she said: “Thank you, my noble hero!” Then she turned and said to Peri in a commanding tone: “Give this hero the best steed and let him follow me right next to my car.”
Peri was surprised and wanted to dissuade her, but in the end, he did not speak. The supreme mage suddenly realized one thing, that regarding the woman in front of him, whether she was a Bablon princess or a queen of Assyrian, it was not a good idea to offend her. He even had a little regret accepting the Assyrian Empire’s bribe and monitored the actions of Princess Sissila for so long. In the end, this decision might backfire on him.
No matter what kind of coercion Princess Sissila had been subjected to, the only one who could really afford to offend her was Sennachi the Great himself, and everyone else had better take care not to do so.
So Metatro rode a pure white stallion alongside Princess Sissila’s carriage, with a distinctive guard of honor in front and a magnificent caravan at the rear. In the entire caravan, Metatro looked the most stylish and eye-catching, and he even took out a fiery red cloak and wore it over the bright silver armor. Anyone who did not know would probably mistake him for the groom escorting his bride.
Princess Sissila spoke to Metatro through the curtain in a lowered voice: “I heard that you followed Supreme General Amon to the city of Salem, no, now I should call him God Amon. Rumors say that the Supreme General of Ejypt was actually a god who walked the earth, is that true?”
Metatro replied with his head held high: “Yes, he is a true god, my only god!”
Princess Sissila sighed and added: “You should not have come here, Salem has just fought with the Assyrian Empire in the Plains of Duc, and if it is clear who you are, they will treat you as a dangerous enemy.”
Of course, Princess Sissila knew clearly the identity of Metatro, and so did Peri, the supreme mage accompanying her. That was why he wanted to remind her just now but was stopped by the princess. The supreme warrior Kripps, who was sent by Sennachi, had been living in the Assyrian capital for a long time and had only been in charge of commanding the Assyrian royal guards, so he did not know the news from afar so specifically, and did not know who Metatro was.
Metatro smiled dashingly: “This is the territory of the Bablon Kingdom, and I was once a noble warrior of the Bablon Kingdom, so why can’t I come along? To protect you, Princess, I am not afraid of any danger. I will escort you all the way to the Ris River crossing, and you will be safe once you cross the river.”
Metatro was not stupid, he would not follow the caravan across the river and openly enter the city guarded by the Assyrian army, but would only send Princess Sissila to a safe place. Princess Sissila nodded silently and could not help but ask in a concerned tone: “Before I left Bablon City, I heard the latest news that he also appeared in your battle with the Giant Legion, is he okay?”
Metatro was slightly stunned and then understood that the “he” Princess Sissila mentioned was referring to Gilgamesh. He could not help but be slightly disappointed, but he still replied very elegantly: “He is very good, and he no longer looked as arrogant as he used to. If he did not make a move, I wouldn’t even have noticed him, to think that he would appear as an ordinary archer in the battle formation.”
Princess Sissila was slightly surprised: “Oh, what kind of outfit did he wear? I really can’t imagine Gilgamesh doing that!”
So Metatro described to her the day that Gilgamesh appeared on the battlefield and all the thrilling events that happened during the battle. Princess Sissila listened to it with great interest, and finally, she asked: “After the battle, where did he go? And after hearing the latest news of the Bablon Kingdom, how did he react?”
In fact, what she wanted to ask most was – when Gilgamesh heard that Sennachi wanted to force her to marry him, what was his reaction, and what did he say? Unfortunately, she could not ask directly.
Metatro replied with a small sigh: “Unfortunately, I’m not sure about that either. I came straight after I heard the news, and was not at Gilgamesh’s side.”
Then both of them were silent, and Princess Sissila looked at the hazy scene outside the car through the curtain while sighing secretly. The appearance of Metatro evoked memories of her past, but right here and right now, the person she missed most in her heart was surprisingly Gilgamesh, her former fiancé who never really put her, the princess of the kingdom, in his heart.
Where was Gilgamesh at this moment? Princess Sissila probably could never imagine that this former noble hero was now wearing half-used coarse linen and stepping on a pair of worn-out boots as he arrived in the capital, Bablon city. He entered the city and ran to Prince Benut’s residence, where he was immediately stopped by guards at the gate.
Gilgamesh did not move, but stood on the stone steps and said: “Please inform Prince Benut that I wish to see him, my name is Gilgamesh.”
The guard had lifted his foot to feint a kick and was about to glare and curse, but when he heard his last words, he froze. With a look of disbelief, he rubbed his eyes, put down his foot, and asked: “You…you, you are Gilgamesh?”
Gilgamesh replied calmly: “In this place if I impersonate this name, what good does it do?”
Yes, someone impersonating Gilgamesh in front of Prince Benut’s door, isn’t that the same as looking for death? So the guard went in to report his arrival, and after a while, the door opened wide and Prince Benut personally greeted him. Bowing at a distance, he said: “Gil, is it you? I’m sorry, my subordinates were rude!”
Gilgamesh shook his head: “They are not rude, thank you for coming out to greet me personally! I have an important matter to discuss with you, I wonder if Your Highness has time?”
Prince Benut nodded and said: “Yes, yes, if you are here, of course, I have plenty of time! Quickly, let’s talk inside if you have anything to say!” He went forward and personally took Gilgamesh’s arm and welcomed the former hero into the mansion.