Chapter 22: The Three Families Rebellion
This happened just before I was born. The Empire was left without an emperor with the death of the Crown Prince Jean in battle and the Emperor Edward IV dying unnaturally. There was a dispute over who would become the next emperor as one would expect. There were three people rumoured to be the next Emperor at that time. All of them were women and were sisters of the deceased Emperor Edward IV.
The first was Eleanor, the wife of Marquis Aquicurl Diederich, the second was Marguerite, the wife of Marquis L’Mitedeau, and the third was Leeds, the widowed wife of the former Count Berea.
The issue of succession was resolved with the birth of the orphaned son of the Crown Prince Jean, who died in battle. However, the three families who had nominated candidates for the emperor disagreed with this decision and revolted against it.
The Chancellor and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies worked together to crush these three families. They killed off the families and effectively took control of their land.
Thus, there was no one left to revolt against the Young Emperor.
… that was how ‘The Three Families Rebellion’ was publicised.
Of course, the truth was different. This was what had happened in order:
First, they didn’t know if I was really Jean’s child until I was born since the old hag had a lover… She really doesn’t do anything good.
Now then, this struggle for the throne naturally turned into a factional strife between the Chancellor and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies. The Chancellor had nominated Eleanor, the wife of Marquis Aquicurl Dudetich and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies had nominated Marguerite, the wife of Marquis L’Mitedeau to become emperor.
Incidentally, Marquis Aquicurl Diederich and Lord Arquicurl had adjacent fiefs and were in a violent dispute over title.
To put it simply… if Lord Aquicurl’s fief is a ‘province’, then Marquis Aquicurl Diederich’s fief is a ‘city’. The dispute arose because Marquis Aquicurl Diederich’s family had existed there for generations before Lord Aquicurl was appointed to the area.
Lord Aquicurl believed that Marquis Aquicurl Diederich should obey him since he was living in his fief, but Marquis Aquicurl Diederich wondered why he should have to bow to a nobody who appeared in the fief after him. Naturally, the two families were at odds. Thus, the Chancellor, who was the political enemy of the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies, nominated Marquis Aquicurl Diederich’s wife for the throne.
Marquis L’Mitedeau was also at odds with Lord Raul since their fiefs were adjacent to each other. It was just a simple ‘boundary dispute’. At this time, there were no aerial maps, so there weren’t any clear boundary lines. It would be easier to understand where the boundary was if there were markers such as mountains or rivers, but in the absence of such markers, a village became the marker, ‘This village belongs here’ they said. The villagers of these villages were unaware of what their villages meant to the nobles, and they would move if they found a better place to build a new village. As a result, a ‘boundary dispute’ occurred between these nobles.
I was born amidst this intensifying political situation. The situation drastically changed when it was discovered that I was Jean’s biological son. There was apparently a special magic tool that had been inherited since the Lothar Empire era.
That was why there were a lot of people watching over me when I was born.
The Chancellor and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies couldn’t believe that the child that was being born was actually Jean’s biological child… Just how distrusting are you two?
Well, anyway, the Chancellor and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies temporarily joined forces with the birth of a legitimate heir.
Both Marquis Aquicurl Diederich and Marquis L’Mitedeau were both ‘enemies of the enemy’, so they nominated their wives for the throne. They might turn against the Chancellor and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies if the situation changed. On the other hand, a newborn infant could be manipulated at will depending on how they are raised. Above all else, Eleanor and Marguerite had their husbands as their ‘backers’, but I had no one. They both chose the lighter palanquin.
Now, the main point. The secret agreement made between the Chancellor and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies was that Maquis Aquicurl Diederich belonged to Lord Aquicurl and Marquis L’Mitedeau and Countess Berea belonged to Lord Raul.
They exchanged the palanquins that got in their way. Countess Berea was just caught up in all this.
And the result of their agreement was the ‘Three Families Rebellion’. But they hadn’t rebelled in the first place.
It would have been hard for them to lodge a complaint even if their whole family was killed if they had really rebelled. But for that reason alone, they were stigmatized and destroyed.
That was the truth behind the ‘Three Families Rebellion’ that took place seven years ago right after I was born.
“So, who’s this?”
The man kneeling in front of me was still a boy around 13 or 14 years old. He was bound with a rope, blindfolded and gagged. His clothes were tattered and looked to be those of a commoner… Strangely enough, he looked like an aristocrat.
“He is a survivor from the L’Mitedeau family which was destroyed for being a ‘traitor’ during the ‘Three Families Rebellion’. He was able to escape thanks to a subsidiary line of his subsidiary line. He was caught because he was trying to flee the Empire.”
This boy was ‘wanted’ by the Empire. He would be executed immediately if his existence is discovered, and this would not change unless the truth about the ‘Three Families Rebellion’ is revealed.
“I thought I should add one more piece to the board. You are free to do as you please.”
Count Palatine Vedett took a step back.
… So, I have to negotiate with him if I want to make this boy into a chess piece?
Anyway, I should be prepared to fire a magic attack at any time.
“You can hear me, can’t you? Nod if you can hear me… Alright. Do you know that magic is being directed at you right now?”
The boy in front of me shivered and nodded several times. It seemed like he could sense magic. Excellent.
“I’ll shoot this magic at you right away if you scream. I’ll burn your throat. Also, don’t lie or pretend. My hand might slip.”
The boy nodded again. Well, that’s enough for threats.
“Make it so he can talk.”
Count Palatine ungagged the boy, but he didn’t ask for help.
“… Fabio. My last name is Denoueix.”
His voice was shaking, but he was quite excellent for not panicking in this situation at his age.
“So? Why did you decide to flee the Empire now? You could have left much earlier.”
“Initially, I had hoped to clear our name… but the neutral faction that I was relying on was destroyed by the independence of the Theanabe Union. I have no more future in this nation.”
I see. Well, even if he rebuilds his house outside of this nation, his house would still be the ‘House that rebelled’ in the Empire. You were looking for an opportunity even though you knew it was dangerous?
“Why do you want to clear your name? You could have just lived.”
“Everyone died while entrusting everything to me. They were all killed so easily. I can’t let their sacrifices go to waste.”
It didn’t seem like he was telling a lie with the way he was clenching his teeth… Can I use him at his age if he has that kind of determination?”
It was also worth noting that he didn’t try to flatter me in this situation. I guess it’s the determination of taking responsibility for the ‘L’Mitedeau House’ that made me want to talk to him as an equal. I personally like the way he was trying to act ostentatious.
“Then let’s make a deal. You will obey me and work as my hands and feet. In exchange, I will expose the truth of the ‘Three Families Rebellion’ when I become the emperor and clear their names. How about it?”
Huh? What’s with his reaction… Oh, I see. I hadn’t said it, and Count Palatine hadn’t told him who I was on purpose.
… I guess he did that so this boy wouldn’t have any strange, preconceived ideas.
“Take off his blindfold.”
Count Palatine Vedett took off his blindfold. Fabio didn’t consider that he was talking to a child who was younger than himself and widened his eyes in surprise.
“Nice to meet you. I’m Carmine, the Eighth Emperor. You could say that I was the direct cause of the ‘Three Families Rebellion’.”
Well, if I hadn’t been born then Fabio might have become a branch family of the emperor’s family. It was understandable for him to bear a grudge against me.
“Ye… no. I have never… thought that you… were the cause.”
“What’s with you? Just speak like you were speaking before.”
Polite speech was suspicious just like how Count Palatine and Timona are.
“So? What’s your reply?”
“Ah… I’ll obey you, so please…”
“I understand. I can’t do it now… but I’ll make sure to clear your name.”
There was no choice of not revealing the Chancellor’s and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies ‘stain’. I would have revealed this when I became emperor even if Fabio wasn’t here. I practically got a man for free, but I need… insurance.
“Count Palatine Vedett.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
“This is an order. I want you to adopt Fabio and take care of him.”
Fabio will be executed as soon as he is discovered. Count Palatine Vedett would be investigated because he adopted him.
This order was a means to have Fabio watched so he can’t betray me, but it was also a chain for Count Palatine Vedett.
Count Palatine knew this.
“Fu, fufu…. Mwahahhah… You are brilliant, Your Majesty… Certainly, I will respectfully accept this order.”
Oh, as it turns out, it wasn’t Fabio who was being tested, but me.
I’m glad to hear that I passed his test.