I usually called him ‘His Majesty the Emperor’ at least, but I couldn’t be bothered to be polite now.
No, I didn’t want to be polite.
Dozens of innocent children were killed by the Marquis, and just thinking of those who simply regarded it as a vicious hobby made my stomach twist.
I clenched my fists so tightly that my nails dug into my palm.
I was even thinking of offering a deep to God for the first time in a while because I felt sorry for the dead children. And just as I was thinking that…
“Lady Emilone, that is too excessive of a measure. Punishing him appropriately and forgiving him—.”
“…Jessie, if you’re saying this is an excessive measure, I’d like to think I heard wrong.”
“B-but… the Marquis has already been punished even if this incident becomes public knowledge. In the future social circles, he will be—”
I ignored Jessie’s word and mumbled to myself, “An excessive measure…excessive, you say…”
I never thought I would experience such emotional drain on a day that was supposed to be festive. The anger that I was barely suppressing exploded.
Of course, if you consider politics, exchanges with other countries and other things, taking away the Marquis’s title so easily could complicate things.
If the imperial family had been in charge of this matter, they would have reached an appropriate compromise with the Marquis… but too bad, it was in my hands now.
Since the temple and I were responsible for any damage that occurred while handling this matter, it wasn’t a big issue either.
I stood up, grabbed Jessie’s shoulders and looked down at her. Jessie’s eyes trembled.
“What about this is excessive…? Punishing a person…no, a marquis who tried to harm the prince of a country?”
A marquis who tried to harm people couldn’t just be left alone.
I was going to use common sense, but I corrected myself because I figured it would be more effective to mention to Jessie that the victim was Prince Alois.
I watched indifferently as Jessie looked taken aback and her shoulders shook like she was about to start crying.
“Furthermore, do I need to be more considerate to a Marquis, who brought in innocent children to indulge his desires as he pleased?”
My red eyes gleamed sharply. Reneben was standing next to me, and his lips moved but he soon shut his mouth.
My face was distorted with anger so I slowly exhaled.
It was repulsive. Incredibly so. The more I thought of the Marquis, the more I was repulsed. And even to Jessie, who acted like she wanted to let the marquis go…
It wasn’t only the crown prince who was standing around but even the nobles seemed frightened by my appearance.
“People are strange. You treat someone kindly and they don’t know how to take it, so they go out of their way to make you angry.”
“No one in this world can forgive the Marquis unless the already dead children do so themselves.”
“I…I was wrong.”
Jessie’s white skin was dyed red. She looked like she was trying hard to hold back her tears.
Right at that moment, the emperor’s familiar voice flowed into my ears.
“I cannot comprehend why you are so angry.”
His voice, which sounded like he was truly perplexed, was unpleasant to hear.
“Saintess, you only get so angry when it is about commoners.”
I spun around and walked towards the emperor, who was a distance away.
Like the miracle of Moses, people opened a path. Thanks to that, I was able to approach the emperor without any obstruction.
I was getting really sick of this. Perhaps I should overthrow the emperor of this country…
The crown prince didn’t seem very normal either, so it might be faster to just replace the entire royal family…
He looked a little taken aback when he saw me suddenly walk up to me.
I think I knew why everyone wants power.
It didn’t matter if they were scared of me. If power was what could stop people from disregarding me and make those with crooked minds think straight, then.
I plan to covet that power, too.
“What do you think about this matter?” I questioned the emperor.
The Emperor has never once lived up to my expectations.
I watched him clench his fists in surprise at my sudden question. A cold silence fell over the hall.
Reneben was anxious and spoke from behind me.
“Your Holiness, there are many foreign envoys here. If we are not careful with this incident, the emperor’s authority will fall. It will become gossip for the people.”
Reneben whispered what would happen if I went through with this, but that is what I was aiming for.
I spoke directly to the emperor. His eyes were shaking and filled with a strange anger.
Same went for me too.
I hoped that this would be the first and last time I got this angry in public. In the corner of my eye, I could see the prince, one of the marquis’s victims.
I narrowed my eyes and lifted my chin slightly. I knew very well that the emperor would consider this a huge humiliation.
Which is why I was doing this.
It was significant for the ruler of a country to behave like this in front of me.
I decided to show this clearly in front of the many delegations.
That way, no one could look down on the temple any longer, even if we have to visit other nations in the future.
Reneben, who was worried that the empire would be harmed by this incident, shrunk back but it was of no use.
“As a Ruler, you must have known what someone like the Marquis was doing.”
“How did you respond to it?”
I had no intention of lowering my sharply opened eyes. The emperor did absolutely nothing.
“As far as I know, there is no provision in the law that says nobles will not be punished if they harm commoners.”
Even if there was such a law, it cannot be allowed.
I arrogantly looked down at the emperor with glaring eyes.
Why do I have to behave like this before people listen and acknowledge what I say? I didn’t want to get angry; I didn’t want to create a situation where I would get angry and point accusing fingers at each other.
The emperor gave no response. I didn’t think I was going to get an answer in the first place.
“I want an ideal ruler.”
Honestly, I knew this, but I was scared so I avoided it.
“An ideal ruler, you say…”
His expression was stiff, so he didn’t move much, but he gave a mocking laugh.
“I believe that those in high positions should have high moral obligations. Your Majesty.”
I knew that if I wanted to do something, I had to have power, be able to deal with people, and be in a position to express my will.
But I was afraid of sitting in such a position, so I just avoided it.
It suddenly crossed my mind that it would have been better if I was born here.
I felt very sick to my stomach.
Saying I didn’t know might seem like an excuse, but this incident made me realize that I really didn’t know anything about aristocratic society.
I guess you could say I came to the painful realization that I was lacking in many ways.
When I thought of those young children who were harmed by the Marquis…and thought of how these nobles knew but ignored it because they considered it a vicious hobby, it felt like there was a knot in the pit of my stomach.
Why should I follow the path of the previous saints and be kind and benevolent to them all the time?
I knew how to be angry too.
I knew how to express my anger and I also knew how to threaten people like I did to the Marquis earlier.
Everyone knew how to do that. But I knew it was bad so I just didn’t do it, not because I couldn’t. At the very least, I hoped that the emperor would be an honorable ruler.
Someone I wanted.
“And from now on, I don’t think a ruler like you is someone I’ll support.”
The kind of ruler that only cared for his interests and pretended not to notice the suffering of others.
Now, someone might counter with ‘Why should someone in a high position have to carry all this burden’, but I could answer that question a thousand times over.
It was not ‘natural’ to be served with taxes paid by the people, and to sleep, eat, drink, and have fun in places that most people would never get to see.
I’m talking about those who are in positions created by other people’s sacrifices but don’t even think about making any sacrifice themselves…
“I am not going to stand aside and watch anymore.”
Seeing the Emperor keeping his mouth firmly shut, I took back the outer robe that I had thrown to Reneben.
As the thick shawl settled over my shoulders, I decided to leave the party even though the sun was still up.
In the first place, this was not the type of situation where the temple and the nobles could go to battle like in novels.
No matter how trashy they acted, they had no choice but to bow down to me, the Saintess, if they wanted to survive.
The temple eliminated demons and I stood at the highest rank of the temple. I knew they would disregard me if I was nice, but I didn’t want to find out this way.
To think they were still looking down on me even though I offered such good conditions.
To those who were saying it wasn’t a big deal, I wanted to tell them this. Putting aside, politics, power, and all of that.
As a human being, simply hearing about such a thing ought to make you angry.
I hope everyone doesn’t take this kind of harm too lightly. Just think of what it would be like if it affected you or your family, and I hope you at least understand.
If only those who didn’t know why I was angry would try to understand even a little bit more.
Grinding my teeth, I walked past the emperor and left the hall.
As I stepped outside and the cold air touched my skin, the alcohol seemed to fade away.
I walked with a calm expression on my face until there were no more people around me.
After walking like that for a while, I could no longer feel anyone’s presence. I buried my face in my hands and screamed quietly.
“I feel alive.”
Although my heart tightened when I thought of the victims, I felt relieved that I had said everything I wanted to say.
As I shook my head, taking in the cold air, Reneben came up behind me at some point, making his presence known.
His white hair glistened beautifully in the moonlight.
I moved my lips.
Somehow, his face looked complicated when he called my name, so I couldn’t help but say.
“…Reneben, do you think I’m wrong?”