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Chapter 95

Krasilov Palace is called the Amber Palace in another word. Rather than simply being decorated with Amber stones, it’s better understood as being as extravagant as that implies.

At least until the time before the war, the Amber Palace was a luxurious palace, even among the allied kingdoms.

“Have you come?” (Elizaveta)

At the entrance of the palace, Elizaveta stood with a slightly tense face. She looked carefully at the blood stains on Ivan’s body before raising his gaze.

Ivan quietly knelt down on one knee. By his side, Pavel and Dmitry also bowed together.

“Any injuries?” (Elizaveta)

“None.” (Ivan)

“That’s fortunate.” (Elizaveta)

There’s a palpable sense of relief in her calm words. And why wouldn’t there be? The man before her eyes had fought under her command against the strongest elf and then swept away the impure forces of the capital until he fainted.

If he had suffered a fatal injury in the meantime, Elizaveta turned her head, suppressing the dizzying feeling for a moment.

“I’ll receive a detailed report later. Don’t send Dmitri, come yourself. Understood?” (Elizaveta)

“Yes, Your Highness.” (Ivan)

“There’s much to say, but… not today. Ivan, raise your head.” (Elizaveta)

Ivan lifted his bowed head. Elizaveta, who stood in front of him, slightly bowed her waist.

Swish, a hand was placed on his cheek. The warm touch enveloped his dry cheek for a while.

The white fingertips trembled slightly.

“You’ve been through a lot. I’m grateful for bearing your burden. Since the moment we first met until now. Always.” (Elizaveta)

“Yes, Your Highness.” (Ivan)

“Now, I’ll give you today’s final task. Stand up, gentlemen.” (Elizaveta)

Elizaveta turned her back towards the palace.

Between the grand stone steps of the Amber Palace, Elizaveta met the grandeur of the palace with a cold gaze.

The guards stood with bowed heads, freezing in place. Since they were all her subordinates, there was no one to obstruct their path.

“Follow. We’re going to the hall.” (Elizaveta)

At her words, Pavel’s body stiffened.

Seeing his hand twitching involuntarily towards his waist, Ivan slowly lowered his hand and gripped the axe handle.

Whether she sensed his intention or not, Elizaveta continued speaking without turning her head.

“Do the guards still resent the king of this country?” (Elizaveta)

“…Yes, Your Highness.” (Pavel)

Pavel muttered under his breath.

Even if he swore again to pledge allegiance to Elizaveta and devote himself to the safety of this country.

Even so, Pavel’s emotions were of a kind that could never be completely relieved. It was natural. His resentment had been festering in isolation in the past.

It’s an anger that can never be resolved. All those he cherished had died and were gone long ago.

And Ivan was no different. Sensing Pavel’s surging emotions, Ivan slowly moved closer to Elizaveta’s side.

To intervene if Pavel changed his mind at any moment.

“The reason I called you all here today was for that. Today, I won’t command you guards anymore. Do what you want to do.” (Elizaveta)

Strength drained from Ivan’s hand gripping the axe handle.

And wouldn’t it have been gone? He still harbored anger. His rage towards the current king, Kiril, still smoldered like embers in his chest.

But he endured it. He suppressed it, considering it worthless. He deemed it meaningless and let it flow away.

After all, he was nothing more than an outsider in this world. He stifled his belief that he had no right to condemn anyone.

But now, Elizaveta affirmed his heart.

If you seek revenge, do it.

Entering the hall armed, Ivan pondered the princess’s words.

‘Why now?’

From the outset, Elizaveta was already the de facto ruler of this country. Since the disappearance of the crown prince, she had firmly grasped leadership and wielded power throughout the capital.

She had once succeeded in a coup. As a result, the king was ousted, all authority transferred to the princess, and the royal family was subjugated under the constitution.

But why now of all times?

Initially, when she first succeeded in the coup, there would have been no problem removing the king and taking the throne herself.

Now suddenly, she says it’s okay to kill the king.

It’s certainly not the kind of soft-hearted sentiment one might expect from a young daughter, saying she can’t kill her father with her own hands. That’s just not possible.

Ivan followed behind Elizaveta silently, lost in thought.

***

– The Lord watches over you.

Such a sentence was depicted along with giant tapestries at the entrance of the long hall leading to the king’s audience chamber.

It was the last relic representing the sole majesty of the Amber Palace. This palace had already lost all its former glory.

Elizaveta remembered the grand sculptures and various treasures that once adorned this wall. Now, only dusty empty spaces remained in the hall.

“Is it pathetic?”

Elizaveta asked with a smile. She found it rather amusing that despite the king residing in a palace devoid of any luxuries, it was still called the ‘Amber Palace’.

But Ivan nodded briefly.

“Glorious.”

“Glorious? Is this downfall what you call glory?”

“It’s not a downfall, Your Highness. It’s a sacrifice.”

Ivan belonged to the Royal Guard. Naturally, he remembered what the Amber Palace looked like during wartime.

The time when the Amber Palace was most magnificent was during the early reign of the previous king, during the height of the conquest wars.

At that time, Ivan the Great was nicknamed ‘the Conqueror,’ ‘the Brain,’ and ‘the Bear of Krasilov.’ Such nicknames are never coined during peaceful times.

Until the Demon King started the Great War, Krasilov was the most aggressive nation in the allied kingdoms. Under the reign of the young conqueror, it was a country that spread fear throughout its vast territories.

During that time, the Amber Palace was the most splendid palace in the allied kingdoms, adorned with treasures gathered from various regions. Everyone passing through this hall willingly showed respect for the authority of the Great King.

And then the Demon King was born. Half the world went up in flames.

Until the heroes appeared, preserving the nation’s structure meant continuous defeat in a different manner from the wars fought against humanity in the past; it was an endless series of defeats.

The authority built through victories crumbled through defeats. The Great King remained strong, but the royal authority did not. In that situation, to preserve the nation’s structure, the Great King had to sell off the royal treasures.

That’s not a symbol of downfall.

The empty thrones in this hall were themselves a chronicle.

The traces left on the dusty thrones don’t signify lament for lost treasures and past glory.

These are praises for the man who was always great, who, instead of giving up in the face of defeat, ran back to the front lines, giving his all to hold on to what he had.

So, if this hall were to be named, it would never be considered a downfall.

“Thank you, Ivan.”

Elizaveta murmured, looking up at the ceiling with reddened eyes. Ivan followed behind her silently.

The long hall came to an end. Finally, they reached the audience chamber.

In front of the empty, chilly audience chamber. They walked along the path paved with worn-out rugs and finally reached the throne.

There sat an unfamiliar old man, staring blankly at them.

***

“Do not kneel.” (Elizaveta)

Elizaveta standing in front said briefly. With a voice devoid of emotion but straight without trembling.

Not bowing in the audience chamber was akin to sacrilege. Yet everyone here stood tall, looking straight at the throne.

“No one in this country is willing to kneel before him, especially not now. So, raise your heads and look straight ahead. Look at the man standing before you, guards. What do you see?” (Elizaveta)

Elizaveta continued to speak calmly as she walked.

Chancellor, Ambassador, Secretary, Chamberlain, Steward, Chief Guard, Minister of State, Court Physician, Steward, Palace Superintendent, Head Gardener, Chief Painter, Court Physician.

Passing by each of the elaborately carved seats bearing the titles of various dignitaries in the country.

Palace Administrator, Court Administrator, Civil Administrator, Foreign Administrator.

Marshall, Admiral.

And finally, to the king.

“Your Majesty, are you well?” (Elizaveta)

Elizaveta continued to ascend the dais without stopping her steps. No one could stop her. The guards standing in this place simply bowed their heads as if acknowledging an extraordinary event.

The king too, without saying a word, simply gazed at her.

“Have you seen? Guards, do you see this person?” (Elizaveta)

Standing beside the throne, Elizaveta playfully tapped the crown resting on the king’s head.

“Do you see someone who has lost not only words, thoughts, and will but also the dignity of a ruler over a million subjects?” (Elizaveta)

“What happened?” (Pavel)

It was Pavel who responded to her words. He was clutching the hilt of his sword with trembling hands. The intense anger seemed to seep from his lips as if he could draw his sword and throw it at any moment.

“It’s my brother’s work. Don’t ask when it started. I don’t know either. But during the reign of the previous king, he probably wasn’t any different.” (Elizaveta)

“But I remember King Kiril’s coronation.”

“Yes, he was walking and talking just fine, wasn’t he?”

“…Yes.”

“Back then, he was already tired of being king. Wouldn’t it make sense for my brother to leave the country without regrets now?” (Elizaveta)

At her words, Pavel flinched.

Was the king nothing more than a puppet from that time? Was he being manipulated by some trick of the crown prince?

Was the entire country already under the grip of the crown prince?

“So, talk of succession battles is laughable. This country has been Alexander’s for well over ten years now. So, I’m not fighting for succession but for usurpation. Pavel, you can call yourself my senior. As a rebel, you’ve fought longer than I have.” (Elizaveta)

“Why reveal this now?” (Pavel)

“To whom? Who stood by you and fought for you? The military? The nobility? The court? Who would stand by you when they hear this story?”

The ambitious ones would want to overthrow this unstable monarchy, and the loyalists of the royal family would hesitate to support the crown prince.

Who could I tell this story to? Dominating the king meant dominating the entire country. This country was undoubtedly Alexander’s. It was a fight to reclaim that. That was the past.

“So, Ivan, when you said you were leaving, I felt relieved yet saddened. I felt relieved knowing you were finally safe, but saddened that you would leave at the most dangerous moment.”

“Your Majesty.”

“Isn’t it fortunate that you’ve returned now? You seem completely unharmed.”

Elizaveta smiled gently as she turned away.

“So, will you guards do what you intend to do? Will you truly stand by the king of this country and temper your anger? Will you avenge the grudges of the late king and all the heroes of this nation and establish justice?”

Pavel bowed his head without answering.

If all the orders given during that time ultimately came from the crown prince, tolerating the old man would just be venting frustration.

Descending from the dais towards Pavel, who gritted his teeth in silence, Elizaveta spoke.

“Do you still seek revenge?”

“…Yes, Your Majesty.”

“So do I. I want revenge on the fool who abandoned everything that this country’s greatest individuals fought for, who left behind the throne obtained at such a high cost.”

Elizaveta looked at Ivan.

“You seek revenge on the one who swept away everyone you loved to a distant land, and on the one who betrayed everyone who loved you to the jaws of demons. Will you join me?”

Ivan met Elizaveta’s gaze. Longing, anger, self-blame, fear, and perhaps, affection.

Reading the emotions flowing in her eyes, he quietly bowed his head.

“Do not plead. Simply command.”

Elizaveta raised her gaze to the bowed men before her.

Her eyes burned fiercely. Words that were difficult to express to anyone were now revealing the flaws of the royal family of this country.

Not anymore. Frechenkaya was finally under her domain, and the provincial nobles would soon follow suit.

Alexander’s influence had been completely ousted. Now, no one would dare to ignore her authority.

Krasilov would rise again. More grandly than ever before.

She would make it so. She would demand that price. To her husband, to that man who might be anywhere now.

Absolutely.

Beneath the king’s silence, the royal family would rise again. So brilliantly that no one could deny it.


30 Years Have Passed Since the Prologue

30 Years Have Passed Since the Prologue

프롤로그에서 30년이 흘렀다
Score 7.8
Status: Ongoing Type: Author: Released: 2023 Native Language: Korean
I got transmigrated into a game I’ve never seen before. I thought it was a top-notch RPG and spent 30 years on it. I retired as a war hero and planned to spend my remaining time leisurely. But it turns out, it was an academy story?

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