Chapter 66: Blood-Soaked Coronation (3)
Everyone was restless in the capital while the coronation ceremony was taking place at the palace. All the gates were suddenly sealed. Even the normally bustling ‘Black Square’ was quiet that day.
It was like the calm before the storm. The first unusual event occurred at the cathedral, the headquarters of the Western Church.
The cathedral was built at the same time as the capital and faced the ‘Black Square’.
Devote believers were visiting the cathedral to pray on this day as well. However, the ‘Cardinal’, a clergyman belonging to the Holy One Teachings, and a higher-ranking ‘Deacon’ appeared and the devoted believers were driven out of the cathedral.
A short while later, screams and shots could be heard coming from inside the cathedral, and the citizens sensed that something unusual was going on. This happened just as the coronation ceremony began at the palace.
Silence followed. The gates of the capital were tightly shut and the old city (the original Cardinal) and the new city (the old ‘Sadie’ and ‘Duede’ cities), which were normally accessible, were sealed off, but some time after noon, about 100 citizens were suddenly escorted by guards from the new city and brought to the Black Square.
News had spread that the newly enthroned Emperor was to appear in the cathedral. Those who wished to have an audience with him were told to gather in the square.
By this time, the citizens had sensed that something unusual had happened at the palace and knew that some kind of political change had occurred, but they didn’t know what had happened or even who ascended to the throne. There were even rumours that the young emperor had been deposed and that either Lord Raul or Lord Aquicurl had ascended to the throne.
Many citizens crowded around the square to find out the truth.
Then, the Emperor’s carriage finally appeared surrounded by the garrison and Imperial Guards.
On that day for the first time on record, Carmine spoke to the people of the capital. The accession was greeted with shock and joy by the citizens of the capital.
“My dear citizens of the imperial city.”
The person who descended from the imperial carriage… whose defences are said to rival those of a fortress, looked like a boy. He appeared on the balcony as soon as he entered the cathedral and addressed the crowd gathered in the square.
“My dear people of the Empire, my name is Carmine de la Gade Bungdalto, the 8th Emperor of the Bungdalto Empire.”
His voice was that of a child’s. That was probably why the boy’s distinct, slightly high-pitched voice echoed throughout the Black Square.
“I’m sure you have spent many anxious days in the face of Lord Warung’s approaching army, but you need not fear them anymore, for they are not the rebels.”
For many of the citizens, this was the first time they had seen him since the National Day Parade. The boy had grown up a lot and he had the dignity of an Emperor.
“I proclaim this as the Emperor, Lord Warung is not a traitor. The real traitors are Karl, Lord Raul and Phillipe, Lord Aquicurl.”
The people gathered in the square were shocked. The Emperor himself had called the Chancellor and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies, who had both previously held the most political power, ‘traitors’.
The citizens were in an uproar. The Emperor’s tone changed as he spoke to them and his words were encouraging.
“My citizens! My grandfather, Edward IV, loved you. He loved and cared for the Empire and fought to be its protector. The same is true for my father, the former Crown Prince Jean. You know well that my father took up his sword and went to the battlefield to protect you.”
The citizens had zealously supported the former Crown Prince. He was a hero when he went into battle and won.
“But my father… the Crown Prince who fought to protect you was killed.”
The citizens of the capital were deeply saddened by the death of their hero. Only about ten years had passed since that tragedy. It was an event that still left a deep impression on them.
“Was he killed by the enemy? … No. No, he wasn’t, my citizens. It wasn’t the enemy who had killed the heroic Crown Prince. It was none other than Karl, Lord Raul!”
The square was in an uproar, but the Emperor continued, undaunted.
“And in the midst of this sadness, there was someone who wanted to kill the previous emperor and rule the Empire. Yes, it was Phillipe, Lord Aquicurl!!”
The citizens’ voices had already filled the square, but the Emperor continued shouting.
“Those traitors murdered the Emperor and the Crown Prince for their own greed! They have sold the land for their own gain, left you people to die and ruled the Empire with tyranny! They have corrupted the Empire and unjustly collected taxes from you!!”
Anger was a primordial human emotion. It was simpler to understand than a hundred theories.
Some were enraged by the assassination of their hero, some were angry at the politicians who had satisfied their own greed while reflecting on their own poverty, some knew the regrets of those whose lands have been ceded to other nations and some were driven into righteous rage over their tyranny. The anger they each felt was different, but they were all equally ‘angry’.
The people gathered in the square were now united by their feelings.
“And they were always looking for an opportunity to kill me and usurp me!! Unforgivable tyranny. Unforgivable usurpation! Unforgivable scums!”
The angry voices of the citizens echoed through the square. Everyone was shouting in anger.
“Their rule has destroyed this nation. The dignity of the Empire has been trampled on, the invasion of the other nations has frightened citizens, and the peasants are living in poverty. They have mocked my dear citizens and trampled on them for their own selfishness!”
They were evil. Lord Raul and Lord Aquicurl were now unforgivable villains.
Carmine looked around at the citizens who were gathered at the square.
The Emperor silently stared at the square which was stained with anger and where human voices were drowned. The noise soon subsided as if a tide had receded in front of the dignified boy who was undaunted by the angry shouts of the people.
Everyone stayed silent and waited for the Emperor’s next words. He shut his eyes once before opening them and proclaiming.
“But you do not need to endure their atrocities any longer. Because those heinous criminals have been killed today!!”
With the Emperor’s words, two boxes were laid out in front of the cathedral, and the Imperial Guards pulled out two heads from those boxes.
“These two heads belong to the two heinous criminals, Karl, Lord Raul and Phillipe, Lord Aquicurl, who had killed my father, the person who fought to protect you, and assassinated the previous emperor. Both of these men were purged… by my hands, by the hands of the 8th Emperor, Emperor Carmine!!”
Carmine said before raising his sword high in the air.
The two heads and the blood on the sword were probably only visible to those near the front, but everyone in the square understood. The villains were gone. The one who had gotten rid of them was the boy in front of them… the small, but brave, Emperor Carmine.
“I won! Their evil reign has ended!!”
The square was filled with shouts of joy. The villains had been defeated. The treacherous retainers who had preyed on the Empire were no more. The future of this nation was bright. Everyone who was gathered in the square thought this.
“Dear people of the capital! I, the 8th Emperor Carmine, proudly proclaim before you in this city which bears the name of my great ancestor!”
The voices praising the Emperor echoed across the square.
“The Empire will be reborn! I will lead this nation to dominate the continent once again! I will bring victory to this nation!!”
This Emperor will make it happen, the people in the square thought. The people cheered at his youthfulness, even though it would normally make one feel uneasy, as if it was the symbol of the Empire’s bright future.
“Glory to the Empire!!”
――― Glory to the Empire!!
――― Hail to the Emperor!!
The square went crazy for a while.
――― Our hope!! Our light!!
The cheers that Carmine had heard on that day had made him decide to live as the Emperor was now echoing throughout the capital.
The capital remained closed for the next few days but the citizens were surprisingly cooperative.
Thus, the new ruler of the capital was enthusiastically welcomed by the citizens.
The ‘Blood-Soaked Coronation’… which marked the beginning of Carmine’s reign, was often narrated with his speech to the citizens. The hallmark of his reign may be that he addressed the citizens on numerous occasions. This led to backlash from the aristocrats, but the citizens never rebelled against him during his reign.