Chapter 65: Blood-Soaked Coronation (2)
“What will the Chancellor and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies do…? What do you all think?”
This happened when I received a report about ‘Duke Warung raising his army’ from Count Palatine Vedett. I asked the three men present… Count Palatine Vedett, Timona and Salomon de Valverde for their opinions on how to deal with the Chancellor and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies.
“We can either restrain them, have them put on trial then executed in front of the people… or kill them on the spot.”
“The former would be easier for the citizens of the capital to understand…. But doing it this way would allow them the chance to be rescued.”
I nodded at Count Palatine Vedett’s opinion.
“It would. What do you two think?”
Salmon de Valverde pondered for a moment before speaking.
“I’ve never heard of a monarch killing an aristocrat himself at a ceremony… though I have heard about monarchs hiring assassins to get rid of aristocrats. Killing them will have repercussions later.”
He was right. The aristocrats will be shocked to see a leading aristocrat being killed at the ceremony. It would set a precedent, and they would be wary of me afterwards.
“But that method would get rid of the image of the Emperor being a ‘puppet’. They would be wary of you, but it would also be harder for them to rebel.”
Timona had a point. Well, even if they don’t rebel on the spot, they will likely take action later.
But being seen as a ‘Foolish Emperor’ or a ‘Puppet’ would be a hindrance to me ruling. It would bring me more benefits than harm if I could get rid of those impressions once and for all…
“Who would it affect if I were to kill both dukes with my own hands?”
“I assume that you would hold another trial at a later date to bring their crimes to light… So it’s only aristocrats with a guilty conscience that will be afraid of you. I don’t see any problem with that.”
… Let me get this straight. The advantage of having a public execution would be that the people would clearly understand that the ‘government has changed’, and it would give them the impression that both dukes are ‘evil’ and the Emperor, who executed them, is ‘good’. This will come in handy when I seize control of the capital.
On the other hand, if both dukes succeed in escaping while they are held in jail, then they would be able to quickly restore their disordered factions, but well, it’ll be fine if I don’t allow them to escape.
Killing them on the spot will neutralise the strong influence they have over the aristocrats as the head of their factions. Dead men tell no tales. The other advantage would be that the image they have of me would be gone.
The disadvantage would be it would take more time and effort to get the people to understand why they were killed. It will be a race against time after the coronation. I must take control of the capital, have Lord Warung under my command and attack both factions before they can recover.
Is the stumbling block there too great…?
“It all depends on how much force we can muster in the end.”
“So… you are planning on executing them?”
“If we can get enough Imperial Guards to control the venue.”
“Leave that to me.”
Timona bowed deeply.
I nodded and continued.
“If I conclude that we cannot restrain both dukes, then I will kill them myself.”
The Chancellor and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies finally finished climbing the last flight of stairs. They bowed deeply in accordance with the ritual.
… They had swords at their waists. I don’t know how good these two are with the sword, so I was on maximum alert. I’ll finish them off in a single blow the moment they let their guards down.
I quietly rose from the throne. I did so slowly and with little effort, so no one would put up their guard.
Then I extended my right hand to the desk. I made sure that I had a firm grip on the hilt of my sword and looked at the two men as I pulled it towards me.
They looked at me with eyes wide in surprise, then their gazes turned to my right hand. I pulled the cloth that was wrapped around the sword while feeling like the world was moving slowly. The cloth, which Count Palatine Vedett had created before the coronation, was easily removed, exposing the blade of the sword.
… Not that I think about it, Count Palatine might have believed this would happen.
I wasn’t good with a sword. I can’t even beat Timona, so I had to use magic to kill both of them.
The ‘Lesser Holy Sword’ that replaced the coronation sword. I channelled the magic that was stored inside the Lesser Holy Sword and clad the sword in magic.
『Flama Lacus』… the heat energy that I would normally fire was wrapped around the blade.
I was surprisingly calm. My left hand was also gripping the handle and my right foot was in front of me for better aim.
They finally understood what was happening and tried to speak up. I stepped forward and swung my sword with all my strength so that I could cut their heads, which were at different heights, with a single stroke.
I have always feared being assassinated. I have played a fool all my life. I have quietly endured everything in my life. Baron Nan, the village in the Theanabe Union, and the Guandeleo. I haven’t forgotten about any of those things.
So, I thought I would feel delighted as I killed them.
But I didn’t feel either hatred nor joy. All I thought about was swinging my sword.
The blade, clad in magic, surprisingly passed from left to right with ease.
Blood splashed into the air and onto my right cheek. It felt hot. Then, I smelled slightly burnt flesh and blood.
I had the sound of two things falling, and I gently caught the imperial crown with my left hand as it was about to fall to the floor.
I heard a scream. I finally realised that this place had been quiet until a few seconds ago.
The aristocrats all started screaming and chaos ensued. I inhaled deeply amidst the stench of blood and shouted, “DON’T PANIC!!”
The two bodies, both of which had lost their strength, slowly collapsed. I shouted once more, “HAVE YOU ALL FORGOTTEN WHY ONLY THE EMPEROR IS ALLOWED TO BE ARMED WITH A SWORD?!?!”
The aristocrats in front seemed to have stopped moving. My voice hadn’t reached the people at the back yet… but the armed Imperial Guards had already rushed to the entrance.
I raised the sword in my right hand which was slightly stained with scorched blood and exclaimed.
“I have personally purged the scums who assassinated the Emperor and the Crown Prince! Come at me if you have any objections.”
Fortunately, Warstadt’s abilities are only known to a small portion of people thanks to the fact that it was almost completely sealed. They were… the ‘Guardian’ and the ‘Storyteller’, who were on my side. Even if the aristocrats noticed that magic had been used, they would believe it was from the ‘ceremonial sword’, since it was more believable than ‘being able to use magic inside of a Sealing Barrier.
Then I looked down on the aristocrats for a while. Timona had already rushed to my side. But none of the aristocrats opposed me.
The aristocrats were being restrained one after the other by the armed Imperial Guards at the back of the room under the command of Balthazar. The unarmed Imperial Guards, who were in the room, were the first to be restrained. There was almost no resistance, and it seemed that some of the spies had also helped with restraining the aristocrats. It was going smoothly.
I tried to put on the warm imperial crown in my left hand when I finally realised that my hands were shaking.
Unlike shooting the enemy commander with magic, killing them directly with a sword seemed to have taken a toll on me. Both methods killed, but my body was honest.
I forced my left hand to stop shaking and slowly raised the imperial crown which was dripping with blood.
Then, I placed that bloody crown on my head.
“I am Carmine de la Gade Bungdalto, the 8th Emperor of the Bungdalto Empire. Don’t forget this, lords. I have crowned myself the emperor! I obey no one and yield to no one!!”
Another drop of blood trickled down.
“I am the emperor!!”
It was as if it was hinting at the future.
The leader of the spies slowly bowed his head in front of me.