The Fallen Palace (2)
Kulm ran to the audience hall without stopping. Several soldiers tried to stop him, but they could not obstruct him and lost their lives.
Kulm kicked the door to the audience hall open. When the retainers chasing after Kulm entered the audience hall, they saw the Second Prince, Etra, sitting on the throne.
“Hoh… so Altonius pushed his responsibility onto you.”
Kulm who saw Etra sitting on the throne immediately guessed the situation. At any given time, only the Emperor is allowed to sit on the throne.
The fact that Etra was sitting on the throne means that he was the current Emperor.
“Yes, it’s exactly like that.”
Etra said with a bitter smile. It was as Kulm said, Altonius pushed his duty as the Emperor onto his son Etra and hid in the inner palace by himself.
“I see. Well then, Your Imperial Majesty Etra, I hope you are resolved.”
“This happened because my predecessor and the Crown Prince’s foolishness. The anger of the Salbuveir clan is justifiable, too. I’m not going to run or shirk from my responsibilities.”
Etra’s expression was a complex mix of farsightedness and resignation. Etra was currently only a fourteen years old boy and had no direct responsibility for the massacre of the Salbuveirs.
“Your Imperial Majesty, you have no responsibilities to shirk from.”
Etra smiled softly after hearing Kulm’s words. That smile of his was strangely clear. It did not seem that he thought there was a chance of his life being spared.
“However, I’m a member of the imperial family and the current Emperor. The Emperor’s duty is to ‘die’ together with his country.”
Etra said while looking straight into Kulm’s eyes. Kulm returned a nod.
“Correct. No matter whether you were pushed to become the Emperor, you can’t escape the Emperor’s duty.”
“That’s right. By all rights, I should be denouncing you for destroying our empire, but I don’t have such qualifications.”
Etra said so and closed his eyes. Kulm sensed that Etra was resolved.
“Your Imperial Majesty… if only you were the subject of our loyalty.”
“I also always wanted to be in the position to receive the loyalty of the Salbuveirs… oh, right.”
Etra spoke up as if he remembered something, still with his eyes closed.
“What is it?”
“My younger brother Shukur is still only twelve. Regardless of taking responsibility as a member of the Imperial family, please let him commit suicide, or at least end his life swiftly.”
Kulm responded briefly. Hearing Kulm’s answer, Etra spoke up satisfaction.
“You have my gratitude.”
The moment Kulm heard Etra’s words, he closed the distance between them and brandished his sword formed of miasma.
Etra’s carotid artery was cut, making his blood splatter. Etra, whose blood spewed out, kept his eyes closed without the slightest movement. The spurting blood lost its momentum and after about ten seconds, Etra’s body lost balance and fell off of the throne.
The last Emperor of the Fildmerk Empire lost his life.
“Was this all right?”
A retainer asked Kulm. That’s because Ortho’s orders were to capture the imperial family.
“It wasn’t… but, I will take responsibility for Etra’s matter…”
The retainer bowed after listening to Kulm. They did not plan to show mercy while taking revenge on the people of this Empire, but Kulm wasn’t able of trampling upon Etra’s attitude that wished to take responsibility for his ruined country like a true Emperor.
“So, are we turning Etra into undead?”
Kulm shook his head.
“Well, I have not considered things that far.”
Saying that, Kulm’s miasma enveloped Etra’s dead body.