The Judged, The Judges (3)
The appointed day of the trial arrived.
Those who are to be judged will await their turn after having breakfast. It has been already decided that Shukul, the Third Prince, will be judged first.
After about an hour after breakfast, a Salbuveir retainer came into the audience hall. The retainer who stepped inside looked around and spoke up.
“The trials will now commence.”
Everyone’s faces turned tense after hearing his words.
“His Highness, the Third Prince Shukul will receive his trial first.”
Shukul was not afraid to look straight into the eyes of the retainer while he replied. The retainer nodded quietly and Shukul followed him out of the audience hall. There was no one that called out to him.
(Mother, as a member of the Imperial family, you ought to take responsibility for this incident. Please don’t forget that.)
Shukul glanced at his mother, Aluris, as he whispered in his mind. This past week, Shukul tried preaching the responsibilities of the Imperial family to his mother, but she didn’t seem convinced.
Shukul followed the retainer through the Imperial Palace. Every time Shukul saw the blood that already turned dark around the palace, he would be confronted with the responsibilities of an Imperial prince.
(If only they didn’t turn their backs on the Salbuveirs… no, it’s already too late.)
Shukul scorned at himself. He thought it was useless saying something like that now.
The place the retainer guided Shukul was a room inside the Imperial Palace that was used for the meetings of the Emperor’s Imperial Council.
When the heavy door opened, there was a simple courtroom that seemed to be made impromptu. The Salbuveir family sat in the front, while the Salbuveir retainers were lined up in the surroundings.
As expected, the size of the Imperial Council meeting room where the trial is held was big enough to host even a few hundred people.
“Defendant be seated.”
Emilis, a follower of Kulm’s, who stood beside the Salbuveir family, instructed Shukul. Shukul obediently abided by Emilis’s instructions. At this stage, defiance wouldn’t bring any results.
When Shukul sat down in the defendant’s seat, Ortho, the patriarch of the Salbuveir clan, looked around and quietly nodded.
“The court session is now open.”
Hearing Ortho’s words, everyone stood up and bowed. Of course, Shukul also did the same. When Ortho encouraged everyone to sit down with his hand, everyone quietly sat down.
“Defendant, please stand up.”
Shukul stood up according to Ortho’s instructions. Then, Emilis proceeded to read the indictment.
“Defendant, Fildmerk Empire’s Third Prince Shukul, is held accountable for being responsible for inhumane actions that were taken against the Salbuveirs. Under Article 38 of the Salbuveir Criminal Code, he’s recommended to be sentenced to death.”
Shukul quietly listened to Emilis’s words. He was able to somehow maintain his composure, but the Salbuveirs were clearly aware of his fingertips that trembled lightly. However, there was no one that ridiculed him for it.
Because they heard of Shukul’s resolution from the patriarch of the Salbuveir clan, they couldn’t scorn at him.
“Does the defendant have any objections?”
Shukul quietly shook his head.
“I see. You are admitting to the terms of the indictment then?”
Shukul responded quietly in a dignified voice to Ortho.
“The Fildmerk Empire’s Imperial family cannot refute the terms of the indictment. As a member of the Imperial family, I ought to fulfill my responsibilities for the massacre of the Salbuveir clan, and take responsibility for the subjects of the Empire that we ruined. Thus, I willingly admit the terms of the indictment and accept my sentence.”
When Shukul declared so in such a firm tone, everyone looked mournful. It’s clear that this twelve-year-old had nothing to do with the massacre of Salbuveirs directly.
“Mmh, you are certainly not directly responsible, Your Highness. However, you are a member of the Imperial family. You need to fulfill your obligations. Therefore, your life cannot be spared.”
Shukul nodded as he looked straight at Ortho.