The purpose of the terror was simple. To discredit the royal authority in front of a gathering of foreign envoys and the nobility of the United Kingdom.
However, precisely because of this, the intensity of the terror had to be somewhat subdued. Once the casualties exceeded a certain point, the United Kingdom would prioritize anger towards the terrorist organization rather than blaming Krasilov.
The crucial thing here is to maintain that delicate balance.
This is a righteous cause. It’s a struggle to honor the spirits of the Great King, Royal Guards, and the soldiers who sacrificed during the past war.
Hence, even though the United Kingdom can mock and condemn Krasilov, it should refrain from expressing anger towards the terrorists themselves.
It’s a terrorism that is meticulously organized, focused solely on Krasilov’s army, restrained to the maximum extent.
(TL: The terrorist group consists of former Royal Guards who were extremely loyal to the late King. Since the late King was murdered by his own son, Kiril, the current king, the public should avoid blaming the terrorist organization too much. This is Ivan’s argument to forgive Pavel, read the continuation below.)
“…Is that an excuse?”
Elizaveta spoke, surveying the chaotic square.
Ivan, with Pavel kneeling and a gun pointed at his neck, silently stared at her.
“And Vanka. No… Lieutenant Ivan Petrovich. Why didn’t you carry out the residual insurgent cleanup?”
Ivan carefully chose his words, encapsulating the perplexity he always felt when explaining common sense to people from this world.
Terror happening at the Academy Festival is common sense.
According to that common sense, the terror should be suppressed by Academy students, leading to their combat experience and modest rewards.
Perhaps, in this stage, Pavel, who would have been the boss, clearly exceeded the appropriate difficulty level in design, so he preemptively blocked engagement.
While events where the ‘protagonists’ surpass their limits on their own are undoubtedly necessary, it should happen within the framework of quantifiable difficulty design.
Ivan is a modern person who lived in the scientific, ideological 21st century. He already knew that people don’t grow through perseverance alone. It’s about finding acceptable limits that promote sustainable growth.
Unable to explain, Ivan simply stared at Elizaveta in silence.
And that gaze fueled Elizaveta’s unease.
“The Father King (Kirill) intentionally blocked information from the late king (Ivan), and almost the entire royal guard, along with the late king’s warriors, were killed throughout the campaign.”
Elizaveta, hiding her trembling hands, casually held the cup as if nothing was amiss. Ripples danced in the clear black tea.
She bit her lip, looking at her distorted reflection in the cup.
‘From the perspective of the Royal Guard…’
It’s abandonment, or more precisely, betrayal. In the pursuit of bolstering royal authority, a power-hungry prince, fueled by ambition, supplanted the forces alongside his father.
However, in his defense, it could be justified. During that period, the royal family was so fragile that such a maneuver had to be seen as a trade-off: a gradual collapse or a ruthless decision. Elizaveta, now matured, could comprehend Kiril’s emotions.
The nobles at the time did not want any more wars of attrition. However, without their wasted troops, Krasilov would have been on the list of fallen nations from the war.
A powerful justification and authority to control everyone were needed. Cutting off the Late King and the entire Royal Guard was probably a decision made in that process.
It’s an unforgivable act, even for her, a past she despises.
Without such a past, she wouldn’t be here now. Therefore, she, inheriting royal blood, can’t stand proudly in their anger.
Anger? Of course, she is angry too. She remembers her grandfather. She knows what the Royal Guard was like.
But aside from that, she is a political being. It was necessary. However…
‘Vanka. Are you the same?’
Once a member of the Royal Guard, once an outcast, and forced to die a second time as a member of the Cleansup Unit.
Can you consider political legitimacy without emotion?
And can you understand the hollow words of political legitimacy? Can you set aside your anger towards this country and dedicate yourself only to duty?
Even if that dedication is never acknowledged by anyone?
No one can.
Therefore, at this moment, Elizaveta could only look at Ivan with empty eyes that had lost the world. With a stoic expression of a ruler, hiding her sadness.
Logically, Ivan has no reason to betray her.
‘So, he let go of suppressing the terror and presented the terrorists before my eyes.’
Armed in front of the royal blood. Staring at her in silence.
Elizaveta resigned herself to death. If this is the price, so be it. She sadly smiled.
“Pavel Sergeyevich Olobov. Raise your head.”
Pavel looked up at Elizaveta with eyes filled with anger and sadness.
Regardless of the circumstances and intentions, he is a traitor. And he had no intention of denying that fact. He is here in place of the departed king and his subordinates, and his only shortcoming was lack of ability. His goal was the downfall of the royal family.
That doesn’t change.
However, Elizaveta was looking down at him with sad eyes.
“I will cover your mistakes as the mistakes of this country. You are free to leave at any time. This country will no longer hold you captive.”
“Do you think you can atone for the sins of the entire royal family by showing mercy to me?”
“Of course not.”
Elizaveta smiled and nodded.
“Redeeming the sins of the royal family is entirely my responsibility. So, Vanka, do what you must.”
“What must I do?”
“My brother has lost the right of succession, and my father is now old and infirm. I am the last of my kind left in this country, so do as you wish. If you wish to condemn Krasilov, do so.”
Elizaveta’s eyes showed no hesitation. Pressing her trembling hand with determination, she smiled brilliantly, as if about to break.
The final appearance must be beautiful. It should be magnificent. That is the duty of the royal family.
When Ivan chose his words in this situation, Pavel asked with burning eyes.
“That is hypocrisy, Princess. You claim to redeem the sins of the royal family with your life, but to me, it looks like mere escapism.”
“If that’s the case, tell me what Vanka desires.”
“What I desire is…”
Pavel looked at Elizaveta’s face and swallowed his words.
What does he desire?
To trample the honor of the royal family, punish the heinous crimes committed by Kiril, and personally end the royal bloodline.
That was the only thing he truly desired.
There was no right in this country to sell the name of the Great King and praise the heroes of the past era.
However, Pavel looked up at Elizaveta’s face and thought, “Isn’t she also of the Great King’s bloodline?”
Perhaps she is the last hope of this country, holding the appearance that the Great King so desired.
He desired revenge. That was clear. However, it did not blur the loyalty he held for the Great King.
Because, during that time, the Royal Guard were individuals who admired the glorious appearance of the Great King.
“You called me a hypocrite, didn’t you? Vanka’s words are correct. I am a hypocrite. While holding all the power in this country and easily sweeping away all the rights of the royal family, I am praised as the first monarch to accept the constitution. Can there be greater hypocrisy than this?”
Elizaveta gazed beyond the window.
The square was still engulfed in chaos, but with the active intervention of the intelligence headquarters, the terror was being suppressed.
“All information in this country flows to me. All the strings of this country move at my will. Therefore, everything I say and do is inevitably hypocritical. After all, isn’t power the most peculiar vice permitted by the Lord to humans?”
“So, I proudly admit to being a hypocrite and will not deny my hypocrisy. If my hypocrisy enriches this country, I will duly pay the price of hypocrisy.”
Elizaveta reached out and gripped Pavel’s arm.
When Ivan tried to protest, Elizaveta gently pushed him back with a soft gesture.
She lifted Pavel up. Leading him towards the window.
The view of Frechenkaya Square, the park, and the distant boulevard and city were visible.
Beyond the barricades created by the army, separate from the chaos gathered due to the university, peaceful streets stretched out.
The turmoil in this place is localized. Frechenkaya is one of the prominent cities even within the United Kingdom.
Many people were strolling on the streets, even though only four years had passed since the end of the war.
This city is rising. It will rise. It must rise.
Humans were never created to crumble.
“Look, this is the scenery the Late King desired, and the peace completed by the Late King’s death. A city built by the virtues of the Late King. Accept the mistakes of the royal family, and live in this city that you and your comrades have built. That is your hypocrisy.”
In the desk drawer of the office, there was an ivory-colored pistol stored neatly.
Elizaveta took the gun from the drawer and handed it to Pavel, then turned away. She wanted to capture the city’s landscape one last time.
“Do what Vanka wants. You’ve ordered countless others to ‘die,’ so you won’t hide behind others when facing death.”
Pavel, gripping the gun with trembling hands, hesitated and then lowered his head, releasing a deep sigh.
Thud, the gun rolled weakly to the floor.
Pavel kept his head down, slowly kneeling.
“Jim desires only one thing from you. Stand and die! Do not run away in the face of death. Stand and accept your death!”
“Jim is not a king preserving your lives and safety. It’s fine to call Jim a tyrant. That statement is correct!”
“Jim is more than enough just protecting your families, territory, and the common people of this country. Jim is such an incompetent king. So stand and die for Jim!”
“But remember, Jim will never die behind you. Jim wants your lives. In exchange, Jim will offer Jim’s life. For the sake of this country, dedicate your lives to Jim!”
“Jim and you will fall here today, but Krasilov will never crumble. Will you follow Jim? Will you willingly march towards death?”
To these words he answered in the negative.
Pavel was lost in thought.
“Yes, let’s go. Jim will die today with the greatest men of this country!”
Ah, that’s what was said.
Long live King Ivan. Eternal be Krasilov.
Oh Lord, protect our king!
On the giant war horse, King Ivan raised his head and laughed heartily.
“Oh Lord, bless humanity!”
If there is any power to protect the old man about to die, now.
So that the newborn children can look up at the sky in our country.
Saying that, the king charged forward, towards the face of the Seven Dragons.
He charged towards the concepts that had emerged in reality. Towards the monsters once called gods.
If this front collapsed, there would be no force to stop the enemy from reaching Frechenkaya until their military strength arrived. He ran, expressing that he would have no regrets if he could postpone the death of the country for even a few more days.
Even as comrades who marched together disappeared one by one, he ran, raising his voice, shouting his name to the world, as if promising those soldiers who were falling exhausted that they wouldn’t die alone.
“Look here. Look at me. Your king is here.”
As if trying to say that the hollow words about not dying from behind were not lies.
Yes, the hero is dead. But the royal bloodline continues.
“Oh Lord, protect Krasilov.”
Pavel said with his head bowed.
Elizaveta asked him, “Where does the loyalty of a subject lead?”
“It leads only to the foundation of this country.”
“Even if your dedication receives no reward?”
“We have learned to consider loyalty itself as the reward.”
Ivan knelt with one knee, bowing his head calmly.
Elizaveta looked down at these men for a while, then glanced towards the radiant light of Frechenkaya in the distance.
She cried and laughed.
“Your shoulders must be so heavy.”