Chapter 43 Time for Change!
“Time stops at the year 198 in the new calendar, at the end of August. Toss City kicked off a marvelous expedition. 30000 troops entered the magical cave, fearing neither distance nor monsters. In search of a mission that brings Toss City’s future to the forefront, we 30000 troops and 300 righteous merchants went, and only 13282 of us returned, myself included, as well as 101 old soldiers.”
“In other words, 17456 brave Toss City soldiers now slumber eternal in the magical caves. Their sacrifice is what helped us finish this mission and find the future of Toss City. Only now can we face everything and return with a smile on our faces.”
Standing on the short city gates, McQueen was full of emotions, gesturing with his hands and feet alike. The ten thousand people of Toss City and 13000 odd troops listened, Bruce, Will, Abraham, Percy, Bank, stood behind McQueen with serious expressions.
Although they don’t know why Castellan McQueen choose this joyous moment to issue this kind of speech, as his loyal followers and subordinates they still said nothing to the contrary, listening with full concentration. McQueen was a strange man, but he had a unique charm. His optimism and little antics were just enough to have a positive influence on his environment.
Toss City, which had been without energy for so long, and the soldiers from the two camps who had been filled with pessimism, felt energy surging through them. No longer were they restrained by strict rules. What they earned now was the right to be treated equally. Well of course the main thing was that their leader was super rich, so three times the amount of food and supplies were to be distributed to each person and everyone had bonuses. Of course people were feeling motivated.
“What I’m holding in my hands is the list of deceased soldiers. I’ve read these names and committed them to memory. I’m not playing a character here, just trying to talk to you heart-to-heart. This long journey we’ve experienced a lot of things. It wasn’t all dramatic or highs and lows. Some of it is so random it’s almost like a few smears on white paper.”
“But I’ve seen so much on this road, so much. For example, I didn’t know that big-eyed grass could squirt grass juices to attack, even if it’s useless. Ground-walking flowers always flee before even getting wind of people. The shout of fear grass…it’s best not to hear. No matter how big a three-eyed lizard is, it just wants to play with mud.”
McQueen said this softly, as if whispering to the winds and clouds. Suddenly his expression changed to become more thoughtful. Whoosh–he pulled out his sword, pointing at the massive dragon head, raising his voice again. “But!”
“Even something as strong couldn’t escape me. With a single thrust, even if his legend has been spreading for ten thousand years, even if he’s the reason people don’t dare enter the magical caves, he still turns into a corpse, ripe for us to pick him apart at our leisure. Who killed him? Me, the honorable offspring of Arathi. Your castellan, McQueen Thomas Arathi.”
Everyone looked up at the city wall in silence. The skinny silhouette with dry yellow hair, nostrils turned up, ears wide open, triangular eyes, front teeth with a gap. The young man who lived in the highest place in the city, who always wore clothing with patches and smiled like a boy next door, the noble who mixed in with the common folk.
In this moment, everyone had the same thought. Castellan McQueen finally grew up. He’s finally standing there like a real man. Even his unimpressive silhouette still covered half the sky. Their leader turned from a youthful lad into a warrior who could slaughter a dragon. From the awkward poor smile just a week ago to a hero with a sword in his hand.
“I’m not trying to show off. I killed a dragon, it’s simple. There’s nothing to show off. I just want to say I’ve seen a lot of things I’d never seen, heard a lot of things I never heard, thought about a lot of things I never had the chance to think about beforehand. In the past I didn’t know what Arathi meant. Perhaps even now I don’t understand the weight of the name. But when Bruce pulled me onto the road, when Abraham lost an arm, when Will told me he didn’t want to go back yet, to soldiers shouting that they would finish the mission if it cost them their lives, to Percy sitting and fasting…”
“I suddenly understand that no matter what my surname was, Arathi or Thomas, it didn’t matter. What does matter is that I’m the castellan of Toss City. This is my city, and you are my people. I want to protect this city and protect you too. I’ve forgotten what I did in the past, and I plan not to take that path any longer. Ever since I killed that black dragon, I knew how I should change, and that I can change a lot.”
“From a long time ago till now, Toss City hasn’t changed. Nobody was starving and nobody was filthy rich, everyone just lived a middling existence. Me in the past, I wanted to maintain this supposedly peaceful status quo at all costs. Garcia told me that this is what the castellan has always done. But no matter how hard we try to maintain, Toss City is still tainted by the chaos of war. I never wanted to go to the magical caves, but I had to go nonetheless.”
“It’s time to change. That’s what I want to say here. It’s time for change.”
Waving his sword, McQueen brought it down in the air. It sliced through the top of the city wall, making a clear mark. His eyes fixed on the crowd, old and young, men and women. These people looked up to him with fervent, expectant eyes. McQueen laughed silently at himself. He didn’t come up with these words in the moment. He was never a cautious or scheming man, or anyone who thought ahead for danger in times of peace. No, he was only a lost child.
If he couldn’t go back to his life in the previous world, he might as well do what he could in this world. In the past life he never managed to live the way he wanted to, and now he had a chance to do something great. Even if it was a dream, he might as well do his best.
What’s more, this dream was so real, so touching.
“In the past I never learned battle, never practiced magic, but I still slayed a dragon. If I can do all this, why can’t we change Toss City, make this place powerful, and make your lives truly happy?”
“If I can slay a dragon, I can transform Toss City. What do you think?”
McQueen wore a light smile. Slaying a dragon didn’t really matter. What did was that he had money. If he couldn’t flip things upside down with all this wealth then he’d be a real idiot.
“Castellan McQueen is a dragon slayer, he’ll take us toward wealth and strength!” An old man shouted from the crowd. His cries paved the way, and crashing cheers rang through the air.
“Our castellan, our dragon slayer, we believe in him!”
McQueen enjoyed the cheers like an elementary school student getting full points on a test and being rewarded with a lollipop. When he waved his hand again, the crowd went silent enough to hear a pin drop.
“Are you willing to join me in transforming Toss City?” Like a general, McQueen turned toward his soldiers, his eyes glimmering like lightning.