Chapter 18: A Certain Brilliance
I had many regrets in my previous life, so I wanted to live this life without regrets.
But it seemed impossible for me since I was an ordinary person.
The next day, Timona Renan, who had been imprisoned for some time, and Baron Frederic Renan, who was undergoing the Inquisition, were released.
Apparently, Timona had been quite violent during his house arrest. He had a cut on his lower cheek.
Baron Renan was treated with healing magic by the court doctor. The wounds on the surface of his body were almost gone thanks to the best healing magic in the Empire.
But his mind and his organs were already in shambles.
The Baron didn’t give the false testimony of him being a heretic even until the end. If he had, then I wouldn’t have been able to save him.
However, his mind and body were already seeking death. He had given up.
… I couldn’t make it in time.
“What is it, Baron?”
After visiting the recuperation room with Timona, I was the only person left in the room, at the request of Baron Renan.
“First, thank you.”
The Baron looked like he was having a hard time even speaking, but I couldn’t accurately heal anyone but myself right now. I don’t know anything about medicine.
“I was saved straight away thanks to you, Your Majesty.”
“That’s enough, Baron… I didn’t make it in time.”
I could have done something else, like getting a statement from someone earlier even if it makes me uncomfortable. Couldn’t I have acted even if I didn’t hear it from someone else?
“Your Majesty, I would like you to tell me something.”
The Baron caught his breath and strained his voice as if he was gathering the last bit of his strength.
“Why did you help me, Your Majesty?”
A skinny right hand was placed on my shoulder as I sat beside his bed. His hand trembled weakly.
“You mustn’t act for the sake of a single vassal. You are about to kill thousands upon thousands of people and lead an Empire of about 30 million people. You shouldn’t act because of trivial matters in front of you. Don’t forget that the lives of 30 million people depend on you.”
“Yes… You’re right.”
I shouldn’t have acted, but I did, and I still couldn’t save him in the end. I was a fool.
“I shouldn’t be the Emperor.”
Ah, the feeble complaint that I couldn’t tell anyone about just came out.
I wanted to be someone special, but I was still an ordinary person even though I was born as an emperor.
I don’t have the power to respond to citizen’s voices.
The Baron wiped my cheek. I don’t know how long I’ve been crying.
“But I see hope in you.”
“I don’t know. I don’t know what to do… even if you say you see hope or light in me.”
His hand was warm like a father’s.
“It’s okay to be you, Your Majesty. Live your life the way you want. It’s okay to be troubled and lost. I know you’ll choose the right path.”
“… Did I do the right thing?”
Even though I couldn’t save you.
“I was saved, Your Majesty. You just don’t know how much you’ve saved me.”
What can I do?
“You don’t need to bring hope or lead the people into the light. Your Majesty, you are the hope and light.”
… I’m troubled.
“I need more concrete advice, Baron.”
The tears won’t seem to stop.
I gently laid my hand on top of the warm hand that was placed on my cheek.
… Oh, I remember that I took care of my father like this in my previous life.
“Forward. You must move forward, Your Majesty. The path will be made behind you. That is an emperor.”
The Baron said as he smiled.
“Your Majesty, I would like to speak with my son.”
“Oh, okay. I’ll get him now.”
Carmine wiped his tears and walked out of the room looking as normal as ever.
(If you can do that much, then you’re doing well, Your Majesty.)
Baron Frederic le Renan closed his eyelids in satisfaction as he laid there.
Frederic le Renan was born as the third son of an Aquicurl aristocrat family. He had two older brothers and was raised in the capital since birth to become a central bureaucrat.
This was when Edward III, the 6th Emperor was ruling.
He was described as the most foolish Emperor in history and had suffered eight major defeats in his lifetime. The Empire’s finances and army were devoured in a single generation.
For Frederic, who had grown up in this insane capital, the emperor was someone who lived in luxury and emptied the nation.
Therefore, when his son, Edward IV, ascended to the throne, he had hopes for him, like many of the other aristocrats.
Frederic, who was eight years old at that time, then spent his impressionable years in the capital and witnessed the reign of Edward IV up close. His hopes eventually turned to disappointment. Edward IV’s reign was better than his father’s, but his reign wasn’t one that could stop the slow decline of the Empire. A man who didn’t do anything during his father’s misrule didn’t have the power to rebuild the nation once it was in a state of decline.
When his two older brothers had fallen ill and he was called back to be the heir of the Baron House, he thought that it was perfect. He naturally held no sentimental attachment to his two older brothers since he had never met them. But he had given up hope that there was a future for him in the capital.
Eventually his son was born. Frederic doted on his son, whom he named Timona, since he looked exactly like his older wife. He doted on him even more when his wife passed away during an epidemic, and it was only the two of them left.
However, when Timona became old enough to be aware of things around him, an incident occurred.
When Frederic took his son to a party, Timona was taken into a private room when he took his eyes off him for a second. The person who had taken him was attracted to young children of the same sex… a Viscount who was famous for his perversions.
After that horrifying experience, Timona came to hate homosexuality.
Frederic deeply regretted that he couldn’t protect his son. He made up his mind. He was going to protect his son even if it meant being isolated from aristocratic society.
After that, he continued to refuse invitations from higher ranked aristocrats to make Timona their head attendant… in other words, their male lover.
But when the Regent told him that the Emperor wanted Timona as his head attendant, he had no choice but to comply. He would be punished for lese majesty if he were to refuse. The status of Baron was the lowest among the aristocrats.
Most importantly, Carmine was still young, so Frederic believed that he wouldn’t be doing such acts for a while, so Frederic sent off his son with these words.
“You were only told to be his head attendant, so you can resist if it comes to that.”
Frederic was willing to give up his own head if the need arose. He was so ill that he only had a little bit of time left to live. He decided that he would use the remainder of his life for his son.
Then one day, Frederic heard the truth from a certain meddlesome Count Palatine that this decision was made by the Regent and the Emperor hadn’t wished for it.
So, Frederic volunteered to teach the Emperor in order to tell his son the truth.
It was easy to be a tutor. No other aristocrat wanted to go through the hassle of being a tutor and no one had any expectations of the Emperor.
Frederic was also one of them. However, he felt a little sympathy towards a child who wasn’t receiving satisfactory education and was around the same age as his beloved son.
That was why he taught him how to read and write. It didn’t matter to him that he was being pressured or that he was hated because of his son.
Frederic’s perception changed drastically after he started teaching the Emperor. The young Emperor was taking classes while understanding the current situation.
What he wasn’t interested in, he learnt as if he was. What he was interested in, he seemed indifferent to. He absorbed knowledge at an astonishing rate without letting anyone know his true intentions. Frederic felt as if he was dealing with an adult.
Sensing Carmine’s potential, Frederic shared his thoughts with him even though those thoughts may be taken as criticism of the church. He knew that he would be subjected to the Inquisition and that he would die as a result.
If his death left Carmine with an unforgettable memory, then it would be a beacon that determined his future. Before he knew it, he found himself showing the young Emperor the value of putting one’s life on the line.
Frederic was stunned when he was rescued from prison. He was told about what had happened by the meddlesome Count Palatine while he was being healed and he thought that Carmine was an unreasonable person.
(He’s a child.)
His illogical actions were that of a child.
But Frederic also thought that perhaps an emperor who still had his childlike innocence was suited for leading the people.
Then, Frederic realised that he hadn’t been thinking clearly enough. It was preposterous for him to think of himself as a beacon. Carmine was already an Emperor.
Even in his present condition, he would be a better ruler than his predecessors and most aristocrats didn’t realise this!
Was there anything more delightful than this?
(So, this will be the first and last gift I leave to you, Your Majesty.)
“Timona. Did you understand?”
That was all he needed to say. Timona had known the truth from the day Frederic had come to teach the Emperor, but the wariness that had been instilled in him was hard to get rid of, and Timona continued to be wary of Carmine.
Timona was also hostile towards Carmine because he was forcefully separated from his beloved father, who didn’t have long left to live.
“Yes, about His Majesty and about my own helplessness.”
The day after he was put under house arrest, Timona realised what had happened and tried to escape to save his father, but he had failed. He was restrained and beaten severely because he had struggled. He was imprisoned and couldn’t do anything until he and his father were rescued.
Frederic touched the scar on his son’s cheek.
“You’ve become a man.”
“… His Majesty told me the same thing when I got out of prison.”
“Pfft. I see.”
Then, Frederic told his son with a serious look on his face.
“Give everything you have to support His Majesty. It doesn’t matter if your house name is gone, and it doesn’t matter if our lineage ceases.”
Frederic summoned all his strength and his voice trembled.
“Risk your life for him. He’s brilliant and is worth it.”
“Yes, Father. I will be his shield and sword.”
Frederic nodded his head slightly in satisfaction when he saw the determination in Timona’s eyes.
“You’ve really become a man.”
Three days later, Frederic le Renan died peacefully in the presence of his son.