039 The burning capital? (Final) p.5

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On that day, Nikola was at the intersection of the marketplace with his canvas, painting the scenery. However, it looked completely different from before. The streets were burned, the air was mixed with smoke and the stench of the dead, and the ashen skies looked like they were about to cry as it stared downwards at the people. After the big fire in Broussonne, nobody wanted to have their portraits drawn.

That was why he was painting the scenery. Painting the scenery was his forte. One might think that Nikola was a corpse if not for his moving arms as he drew. He was pale and his eyes had sunk in. Ignoring his countenance, he had many bandages on his body. His dominant right hand was wrapped in a cast and he was exerting much effort to paint with his unfamiliar left hand.

Still, not even for a moment did he stop painting on the canvas. Slosh, slosh, splat, splat. He poured his sentiments onto the canvas. Red. Red. Red. Black. Black. Black.

There were only these two colours used in his painting of the scenery. The only other colours used were mixed from these. What shade of red? Or how dark the colour of black? With painstaking effort, he was able to paint a richly coloured scenery.

“...How about doing it over there? Mr Painter.”

A man stared at his canvas and said.

The man was an adventurer. On the day of the big fire, he had helped Nikola fend off the rioters and saved his life. He had gone against the adventurer guild’s principle of not interfering in fights in the city, and took up his blade with a chivalrous spirit. As the casualties grew, the guild later clarified that they approved of such actions, else he might have been punished for going against the rules.

Nikola showed no interest in his appearance. Even though he was his benefactor, he did not look up. He also showed no concern over him obstructing his view of the city as he painted. That was because he was not only painting today’s scenery.

“Your injuries must not have healed. Go over the top and you might hurt yourself.”

Nikola did not respond to this either. He was focused on painting. Unable to ignore what he saw, another man, probably the adventurer’s companion tapped on the adventurer’s shoulders.

“Don’t bother, Mr Gaile. This man is hopeless.”

He was trying to tell him that it was too late to call out to Nikola once he was painting like a machine. Every once in a while, adventurers would be able to see something similar. The girls who were captured and played by the goblins or orcs would be mentally broken. Or their compatriots who lose confidence after challenging a monster that was way above their capacity. Like these people, their hearts have already died even though their flesh was alive.

“...How sad.”

The adventurer said as his eyes clouded. During the night of the big fire, when he entered the tavern which had been attacked by the rioters, only the painter was alive. The barricade at the entrance was destroyed, the owner and the customers were all killed and the barmaid an outlet for lust. Nikola was left alone by the assailants just so that he could witness everything.

The barbarians were vulgarly laughing while taking turns at the barmaid, who had long left for the afterlife. The adventurer immediately slew them when he saw it. Nikola was saved but he did not say a word of gratitude. The only thing he said was this.

“Why.”

Why did the knights not come?
Why was he being saved now?
Why did he not die?
...Why did this happen?

There was no way to know what exactly he meant. That was because he did not say anything from then on. While he was still in treatment, he left the shelter and was painting.

“...Take care of your body.”

The adventurer gave up and turned heels.

Nikola was not the only mentally broken victim that was saved. He felt nothing but sympathy for him but he could not help him quickly. After Broussonne was burned completely and many of its inhabitants lost their families, the public security within the city deteriorated. Since the slum area grew in the city, there were more robbers, delinquents and shrewd black marketeers roaming around. He did not want to stay in a single place for too long.

“Do you...Do you know what happened to my daughter? Ohh, my cute Anrietta…”

He passed a refugee who seemed to have lost it. His first impression was that she must have lost her child in the fire, but after listening further, she seemed like the rumoured woman who says nothing but exaggerated nonsense. He walked on without looking bad so as to avoid trouble.

“Tch, what is going to happen to this city.”

“There should be plenty of jobs just from keeping the city safe during reconstruction. It is gonna be quite irritating to be working in this kind of environment.”

“Seems like only the nobles are unaffected? Breathing all the clean air from the opposite bank, dammit.”

Grumbling with his companion, they walked off. Their backs finally disappeared from Nikola’s line of sight.

“......”

The injured and ill painter was painting the nightmare from that night. The group of demons with flickering flames on their hands. The innocent inhabitants of the city that had their heads smashed and their stomachs cut open. Pallid young ladies offered up as sacrifices on the altar. A man-made hell where sinless people fall into.

Every stroke of Nikola’s was crude and warped. But allowed his painting to bring across the truth of that day and stir disgust in viewers. Without considering whether this painting was for good or evil, just based on its ability to evoke dread, it was definitely a masterpiece.

Nikola continued moving his brush even after the sun had set.



A few years later, Nikola Bruneau’s grotesque painting took the world by storm and became a masterpiece which represented the fire in Broussonne.

However, right before he received high praise for it, he overdosed on cheap alcohol and passed away in the slums. Art collectors who loved it took painstaking efforts to retrieve it after the painting was lost.

There was an exceptionally beautifully drawn woman present in Nikola’s crude and unsightly painting. It created discomfort as it juxtaposed with corruption in the painting. There were many theories as to who that woman model was but none of the theories were accepted completely.

In any case, Nikola, a first class artist, managed to fulfill his dream of leaving his mark in history.

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17 comments

  1. Is that supposed to be a happy ending?

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    Replies
    1. even MC said that he didn't expect the riot to become so big, so no, it definitely isn't

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    2. I don't think this novel is about things either pure good or evil.
      Too many characters are crippled, or twisted.
      It is "Murky Victory", not "Happy End"

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  2. People that taking advantage of the ensuing chaos huh! Seemed similar to the going on in the Usa

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  3. thanks for the chapter
    Kinda sad that Nikola died, he could have been futher developed. I is also pretty nice that the Marquis is catching wind of MC shemes, it was getting a bit stale

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  4. Nikolai mah boi....
    Mah poor Nikolah

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  5. Damn such a heavy ending, this series keeps up with its theme, is such a great stuff.

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  6. Of course the artist only gets high praise AFTER he's dead.

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    Replies
    1. Happens alot, for example the moby dick, mona lisa and others that became increasingly more famous after the death of the creators.

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  7. dang, he should steal his brother wife later XD

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  8. All this has amazing parallels with the current going ons in the US.

    People taking advantage of popular dissatisfaction, a feckless and incompetent coward of a leader, People using the chaos for their own ends, and the growing and growing divide between the government and the people. Thankfully we are a democracy so it doesn't have to end in bloody revolution, but the parallels are terrifying. An utterly incompetent, irresponsible, and coward of a leader can rot even the best country.

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