“The root of the problem stemmed from my suggestion that we divide the kingdom into different domains and allow the five great noble families to each govern one of the territories in our stead.”
From the bottom of my heart, I completely approve of Uncle Will’s proposal.
In fact, I thought this was the reason that the ‘five great noble families’ even existed.
Otherwise, they’d merely be a group with superior financial and political power, meaning there’s no real benefit from creating such a distinction amongst the nobility.
“That’s a good idea,” Gilles says thoughtfully, his eyes shining.
Well, there shouldn’t be too many people who would object to such a development.
“However, Luke’s mother was opposed to the plan.”
“What does the king’s mother’s opinion have to do with any of this”
At Uncle Will’s words, both Gilles and I express our disbelief.
I highly doubt that she would know anything of import about politics, and I’m sure Gilles must be thinking along the same line as me.
“Was it for money” Gilles considers quietly, his gaze dagger-sharp.
“If it was only for the money,” I say, “then the other court officials should have been able to stop her.”
“Since she’s the king’s mother, can’t she just do whatever she wants and damn the consequences As long as the king cares for her, who could stop her” As Gilles speaks, his voice gradually grows quiet, solemn.
It seems that the more he learns about the past and the grim reality that currently grips our country, the more contemptuous Gilles becomes of the king.
And it’s not that I don’t see where he’s coming from.
I do! But at least in this matter the king wasn’t really at fault.
His mother was the one in the wrong.
Though, then again, as the king of this country it’s his responsibility to govern properly and not be swayed by familial ties.
Luke cares very deeply for his mother.
But who wouldn’t when most of her time and energy was spent doting on him.
In comparison, the treatment I received was like night and day.
She seemed to hate even the sight of me,” Uncle Will says, grinning wryly.
It may sound like a cruel thing, but such is life.
Family histories like this one are truly a dime a dozen.
But what is rare is how easily Uncle Will can accept such ill-treatment.
Compared to him, I can only feel ashamed for my own intolerance of other’s petty slights against me.
“So she plotted against you And that’s how you got thrown out”
Her plan was ingenious.
She framed me in such a way that could leave no doubt that I was the criminal.
She had me banished from the Royal Palace on charges of planning to murder the king.
And to ensure that I would never again attempt to seek an audience with him, she had my eyes gouged out.”
At Uncle Will’s dispassionate speech, Gilles’s face falls into a pale grimace.
Next to him, huge, grain-sized tears stream down from Rebecca’s eyes with an occasional sniffle croaking out from the surrounding onlookers.
…..For someone this capable of drawing in others, isn’t it odd that no one tried to speak up for him
“What did my father–“
“The only people who knew the truth of what happened were Luke’s mother and her personal servants.”
“So even the king didn’t know”
“But it should have been impossible for her to conceal such a serious matter.”
“She was incredibly scrupulous when laying out her plans.
And it was a rather simple matter to get rid of me without anyone else knowing.
After all, I wasn’t the king.”
“But surely someone would have realized that those were false charges and objected” As I speak, I notice that my voice quavers.
“There certainly might have been a few people who wanted to stand up for me.
However, if they succeeded, then they would undoubtedly be killed, so in the end, the smart ones stayed silent.”
“Then where are those people now…..”
“Yeah, it couldn’t be any of those bumbling idiots that are currently running this country.”
“They were banished from the kingdom.”
We all stiffen at Uncle Will’s words.
Just exactly who expelled who from this country
No matter how much I think about it, only one person comes to mind, but even she shouldn’t have the power to do whatever she wants like that.
“So that woman had all of your supporters banished” Gilles is the one who finally speaks up.
I’m sure everyone listening was likely thinking the same thing.
“Precisely,” Uncle Will murmurs.
His gaze no longer holds any lingering sadness or rage.
It’s become completely devoid of any emotion.
“I just can’t believe that.”
She had everyone who was on good terms with me exiled from the country and deported to the Ravaal Kingdom.”
….The Ravaal Kingdom.
No wonder it’s been prospering so much recently.
Of all places, she just had to send our best and brightest to a neighboring foreign power.
The king’s mother has to be the biggest idiot I’ve ever seen.
“How many people was it”
“If I had to guess, it should only have been three people.
But each one was extremely skilled in their respective field.”
“So, in one fell swoop all of the brilliant minds guiding this country disappeared, leaving only an immature, inexperienced, incompetent king left to rule.
That explains the quickly deteriorating state of affairs.
This whole country is a sinking ship,” Gilles comments, his eyes narrowing in indignation and disgust.
On the surface, our country seems to be doing fine, but once you take a peek underneath, the living conditions and the livelihood of the lower classes is rapidly devolving into hell.
Gilles’s anger is understandable, since he had to grow up under those inhumanely impoverished conditions.
It would be only natural for him to desire revenge for such injustice.
….And without knowing anything about the situation, Liz-san thoughtlessly declared that revenge in any capacity was pointless.
Being a saintess sure is an amazing thing.
For her to know what’s always best for everyone, she couldn’t be short of omnipotent.
If it were me, I’d probably end up committing an insane faux pas by actually helping the person out in exacting their vengeance.
“Gramps, wouldn’t the king have noticed that something seemed odd when you suddenly disappeared”
Luke resented me.
He was probably relieved when I was gone.”
“Did you hear such a thing from the king’s own lips” I ask him.
“…..Not in so many words, but around the time that I was quarreling with his mother over my division of power proposal, he said this to me: ‘You’re not even the king, what gives you the right to act so high and mighty.'”
Wow, the king has such a mother-complex.
“A 17-year-old certainly might have thought that way in the heat of the moment…”
“But given a chance to cool down, to think calmly and rationally, it’s possible that he actually regrets having said that.”
“That king No way,” Gilles scoffs.
“Gilles, hush,” I say, shooting him a little glare.
“Since you said your relationship was ruined, I had assumed that something a bit more,” I pause to find the right word, “serious… had occurred between the two of you, Uncle Will.”
“The topic they were arguing over that day was a pretty serious one.”
I pointedly ignore Gilles’s retort and continue speaking.
“Did you ever consider verifying the other person’s feelings by asking him directly”
Uncle Will’s eye goes wide at my question.
Gilles’s mouth also falls slack a bit as he stares at me.
Even Rebecca has finally stopped crying and is just looking at me, amazed.
Was what I said really that odd
“Uncle Will, you told me some time ago that you didn’t feel the need to leave this village.
But that was a lie, wasn’t it”
“Don’t you wish to be able to see the world again” I ask while slowly walking closer to him.
For once, our roles seem to be reversed and I’m suddenly acting as the voice of reason.
“If you truly never wanted to leave, then why did you never give up Why did you help revitalize this village ….You can’t hide that light in your eye.
Even I was awed by your majesty and ended up kneeling down to you.”
As I speak, I continue to doggedly hold Uncle Will’s gaze, not letting him look away.
At first, he just stares at me, his eye wide.
But then a huge smile breaks out on his face.
Involuntarily, my heart flutters for a second when I see that smile.
Even if he’s old enough to be my father, he’s still got it.
The power of a handsome face really is unbelievable.
“You’re absolutely right,” Uncle Will says.
“I think I’m ready now.
I’m ready to see the outside world again,” he smiles, and then just like always, he reaches out his hand and pats me affectionately on the head.
“Go back for today.
We’ll continue this conversation tomorrow,” Uncle Will says after a moment, his tone gentle but commanding.
Obediently, I nod my head.
There are still so many things that I’d like to ask about, but I should leave it at this for now.
I don’t want to keep bringing up such painful memories for Uncle Will.
Without another word, Gilles and I turn to head back towards the wall of fog.
Just as we reach the border, Gilles looks as if he just thought of something and turns to stare at me.
“What” I ask when he doesn’t say anything.
“What ended up happening to the king’s mother”
Taken aback, I stop walking for a moment.
“……I don’t know.
I’ve never heard any mention of her in the first place.”
“That’s what I thought.”
With that, we resume walking again.
And for the rest of the trip home, Gilles doesn’t say another word.
He walks next to me silently, his expression complicated as he ponders all that we have just learned.