Chapter 67: The Beginning, Not the End
After the coronation ceremony, I quickly washed off the blood on my body and called Count Palatine Vedett, the ‘Storyteller’ Daniel and Count Newnbal to my room.
Balthazar and Lord Salomon are entrusted with guarding the restrained aristocrats.
All three of them quickly kneeled and bowed their heads when I entered the room. I told them to relax and only two of them looked up. Count Newnbal was still bowing.
“You may look up too, Count Newnbal.”
“… I was not aware that you were acting to deceive the traitors…”
He tried to apologise, but I put my hand on his shoulder and said, “This nation has lasted thanks to you. I deeply appreciate that. Please look up.”
“… Thank you for your kind words.”
I know I have bothered him, but I still need him to continue working for me. I have a shortage of human resources and a mountain of problems to solve.
“Please continue doing your best for the Empire.”
“I will. Thank you for your kind words.”
Perhaps I should be more concerned about him working himself to death.
“I want to have a trial first, even if it will be an informal one.”
I informed the three who were sitting on their chairs.
By the way, we don’t need a suspect or a defence attorney in this trial, and there’s no need for the judge to be neutral. So, it may not be a ‘trial’ like the ones in my previous life… but that was the way it was in this time and world.
“I will exercise the jurisdiction held by the Emperor and hold a trial against Lord Raul’s House and Lord Aquicurl’s House.”
First, aristocrats have fief authority which is recognised by the Emperor. Their authority includes the right to collect taxes (within their fiefs) and the right to hold trials. The aristocrats of each fief have the authority to solve their own problems (such as disputes). The Emperor, on the other hand, retains the authority to judge aristocrats.
I just declared that I am judging them which was within my rights… All of this isn’t explicitly stated in the ‘law’; it was just a ‘customary law’.
The legislation in this area is quite lax. There are various reasons for this such as: the imperial law and the tribal laws still being mixed together, privileged classes (the aristocrats and emperor) do not want to create laws that will bind them, and military power surpasses the law.
Laws are not unconditionally followed if they exist in the first place. Laws ‘need to be followed’ by the people. In modern times, the police would be the people who enforce these laws.
In this nation, the Emperor’s armed forces enforce the law, but of course, it was possible to rebel against the armed forces because aristocrats also have armed forces. So, the aristocrats can revolt if they are dissatisfied with the results of the Emperor’s ‘trial’. The Emperor is not free to judge as he pleases.
And of course, the aristocrats other than those involved will revolt if they think that ‘it will be their turn next tomorrow’, so the Emperor must read the aristocrats.
There was no need to worry about that this time though. After all, Lord Raul and Lord Aquicurl have already been taken care of. The Duke fiefs whose lords have been killed will surely revolt, so there was no need to read them.
“Daniel de Pierce will be there as the Holy One Church’s guidance head.”
“Lord Raul ordered the assassination of the former Crown Prince, Jean and Lord Aquicurl ordered the assassination of the previous Emperor, Edward IV. They also wrongfully concluded a peace treaty that was detrimental to the Empire, falsely accused Marquis Aquicurl Diederich, Maquis L’Mitedeau and Count Veria of crimes they did not commit, and unjustly invaded and occupied territories. If anyone objects to any of those charges, then they can answer for them.”
The trial can be held in the presence of at least three of these people: a clergy, the Emperor, who will judge the crime, and an aristocrat who will affirm or deny the charges, and there is no need to provide evidence unless someone objects. So, the trials have no credit, and the aristocrats openly ignore or revolt against the trial. This was the norm here.
“Both dukes are found guilty since there are no objections. For these charges, Lord Raul and Lord Aquicurl will forfeit all their property, titles and offices that they hold, and both patriarchs will be sentenced to death and their heads displayed. Anyone who objects will have to answer for them.”
Even I thought this was a heavy punishment, but in this case, the heavier the punishment, the more it would be advertised that both dukes have committed a ‘great crime’. That was the purpose of holding the trial in this way.
“I see that no one has any objections in this case, so both dukes will forfeit their properties, and all the titles and offices that they hold and the patriarchs of these two families are sentenced to death and heads will be on display. The court is now adjourned.”
“I, Daniel de Pierce, the guidance head of the Holy One Church, certify that this trial was conducted in accordance with the teachings and with justice.”
You may assume that the ‘guidance head’ title that Daniel calls himself is the same as a ‘clergy’. There are ‘ceremonial heads’ under the ‘guidance head’ but they are not recognised as clergy, and even if he were the ‘great leader (the representative of the Western Sect), it doesn’t change the fact that he is a ‘guidance head’. I don’t know how it’s done in other sects.
“Count Palatine Vedett, arrange their two heads like we planned. Treat them with utmost care.”
“As you wish, Your Majesty.”
From here on out, it was a race against time. I will be checkmated if the citizens revolt.
“Sir Daniel, how are things at the church?”
“I have already taken control of it, and George V, who you have detained here, will be burnt at the stake. We can execute him immediately if you hand him over.”
“I’ll hand him over tomorrow. Thank you for your hard work.”
By the way, even the emperor cannot execute a clergyman. Only the clergy can judge their fellow clergymen, so even though I’m unsure about the way you put it, I’m glad he’ll be ‘burnt at the stake’.
“And Count Palatine Vedett, about the location for the speech…”
The public would have known what had happened immediately if I had been able to detain and publicly execute both dukes, but I chose to get rid of them at the coronation. It was possible that the citizens didn’t understand why I had done this, so I had decided to make a speech to the public. The problem was the location.
“I can’t go to the ‘White Square’?”
“Unfortunately, it is not safe. The ‘Black Square’ is the best we can do.”
The ‘White Square’ was located outside of the original Cardinal capital… between the old ‘Sadie’ and ‘Duede’ cities. The ‘Black Square’, on the other hand, was located inside of Cardinal. The ‘White Square’ was large in size and many commoners live on that side of the city, so my speech would have more impact there… but I shouldn’t be taking risks in this situation.
“And I am sorry to inform you, but we can only allow 100 citizens from the new townside to be there.”
It would be difficult to convey my speech to the new townside due to current traffic restrictions.I will make my speech in the old town, so I asked him to bring 100 commoners from the new town instead.
“If you say that’s as many as you can bring, then there’s nothing we can do. Proceed with the preparations.”
Even if the people in the old town accept it, it will all come to nothing if the citizens in the new town cause a riot. There should be more commoners in the new town… but I have entrusted the spies with multiple tasks. I won’t say it’s impossible.
“Oh, and Count Palatine…”
“Yes, Your Majesty?”
“I look forward to working with you from here on out too.”
… I told Count Palatine at that time to help me until the coronation, so I don’t think there will be any issues since I crowned myself with my own hands… but I said it just in case.
Then, Count Palatine laughed and said, “Of course, Your Majesty. Your words at that time were not a lie.”
… I feel like I’ve been cheated, but that’s okay.
My speech was to take place in the Western Sect’s cathedral. I had a little time to spare before they finished preparing the venue, so I pondered over some plans over a cup of herbal tea that Timona had brewed.
First the detained aristocrats. I need to decide whether to release them or punish them. Also, if I release them then the timing will be critical. If I release them too quickly then they will remain as stable as they are, but if I take too long to release them then their fiefs will be a mess. The second and third sons, who aren’t heirs to the title, will begin to make unsettling moves. If I handle this well, then I should be able to control the aristocrats’ movements. I need to think about this carefully.
Next was Lord Warung. I believe Nadine has successfully delivered my letter to Lord Warung. Now it was up to him to make his move. He will return to the Empire under these circumstances, but what will he do next? I hope he leaves his army here, but if he returns to his fief, then I’ll struggle a bit. I need as many troops as I can get right now.
I have the unit commanded by Count Chamneaux, and the aristocrats’ troops who are within this group need to be disarmed as soon as possible. It would be very troublesome if they tried to rescue the aristocrats. I need to be very careful.
Count Chamneaux has done a very good job with the mercenaries. The mercenaries were originally hired by Lord Raul and Lord Aquicurl, so they could be my enemies, but immediately after meeting me, Count Chamneaux requested that the two dukes temporarily change the employer to himself until the battle with Lord Warung since the mercenaries might not move as instructed if the commander and employer aren’t the same.
So, Count Chamneaux was still their employer. They will follow his instructions as long as they are paid, but their employment period isn’t very long, and we do not have the money to hire them again.
Yes, money. Anyway, we don’t have money. I have a few ideas on how to gain money as well, but it would be difficult to rehire them, but I don’t want to fire them and have them become thieves… What should I do?
And the biggest problem is the battle between the Raul Dukedom and the Aquicurl Dukedom.
A lot of aristocrats participated in the coronation ceremony and I succeeded in capturing them all, but they didn’t have their families with them, and the same goes for Lord Raul and Lord Aquicurl.
Lord Raul’s only son, Sigmund du van Raul, Chief of Cavalry was apparently preparing his army in Lord Raul’s fief and was on the lookout for the Gotilova tribe, and the second son of Lord Aquicurl, August de Aquicurl, Marquis Aquicurl Diederich had apparently remained in his fief as well. They will undoubtedly declare their succession to the dukedom and raise an army as soon as they receive information about the political purge. Only after defeating them would the Empire be brought under my complete control.
Nothing was over yet, or rather, the civil war had just begun.
But this was also a once in a lifetime opportunity to strike them since the leader of their faction and feudal lord had disappeared and many of the aristocrats who were in those factions were detained in the capital. I could directly attack Lord Raul’s fief and Lord Aquicurl’s fief if the aristocrats in their factions don’t get in my way.
And the rest of the aristocrats in those factions can be called mobs if I get those two dukedoms under my control.
But how do I control the dukedoms…
“Everything is ready, Your Majesty.”
“I see. I’m coming.”
Timona said, and I stopped thinking and stood up. I had to give this speech first.
“Please take this first, Your Majesty.”
I turned to Timona and saw that he was holding a scabbard sword.
“Is this… that sword?”
The ‘lesser holy sword’ that had replaced the imperial ceremonial sword was in its scabbard.
“I put it in its scabbard since it was ready. You should change people’s impression of it if you are going to use it in the future.”
I pulled out the sword a little and saw red liquid on the sword.
“Yes. Emperor Cardinal’s words will come to people’s minds if they see it as a ceremonial sword, but no one will make a fuss if you present this sword that is used for political purging and leave a greater impression on the people.”
“… ‘Purging Sword’? I like it.”
Impressions could also make a big difference with swords as well. I’ll do that.
“Also, Count Palatine has informed me that he has found one of Lord Warung’s men in the capital. He appears to be gathering information. I think you should keep this in mind.”
He was probably only gathering information on what was going on. Lord Warung probably isn’t someone who would believe in a single letter.
Then, I will add to my message to Lord Warung…
“Alright. Let’s go.”
Unlike that day, I had no fear as I headed out to face the people.