Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 40: The Old Man
“During the previous imperial reign, there was a scholar who railed against the monarchy with great fervor. His name was Fan’ni. Born the eldest son in a family of artisans, he was supposed to be the family’s successor but because he was extremely bright and intelligent, his brother became the successor. He became a scribe instead and mastered academics. He disappeared from the world after writing the book titled ‘Ouiro Shunjū’ criticizing the Royal Family’s disturbing repetition of consanguineous marriages and condemning it severely as impure.”
Before they knew it, the Secretary from the Ryokuen Garden appeared in front of the royal who was nodding off at the vermillion gate.
At his words, Ashiyowa, who was facing down with tears streaming from his black eyes, reacted.
“Have you ever read it, Aniue-sama?”
Ashiyowa nodded. It was the book he read until it became tattered and worn out.
“Fan’ni is probably the name of the old man who raised Aniue-sama. He was the scholar who impeached the monarchy here in the capital and when no one listened to him he went to the mountains to hide.”
Ashiyowa remembered the old man’s strict face, his sharp eyes, and the only book he gave Ashiyowa.
“Whether he knew Aniue-sama was a royal or not, he instilled his own ideas and his beliefs on the little boy he picked up.”
As he stood on his knees, the Emperor hugged Ashiyowa who trembled as he listened to the Secretary’s words.
The Emperor just hugged him by his shoulders without saying anything, as if he wanted to share the trembling Ashiyowa felt.
“Aniue-sama, the way Fan’ni thinks is just unique. The royal family is not an impure clan at all, rather they are the most ancient clan that protected their blood and a miraculous clan that used the power they inherited to bless the land selflessly and saved all the people from starvation.”
“But it’s unethical. Whether they are the most ancient clan, or the consanguineous marriage, or that it’s not between a man and woman, all of them are not the way of man…!” Ashiyowa blurted as he unleashed the thoughts that were swirling around in his head and tormenting him from inside towards the dark-toned Secretary’s face.
“The sense of ethics was different at that time. In ancient times, the elder brother would marry his younger sister, and there were also many sister and younger brother couples. Eventually, people have turned away from consanguineous marriage. But is it appropriate to blame them for not following trends? The royal family is a rather fragile family that cannot survive without their kin. With all due respect, the fact that Aniue-sama was able to live alone for more than thirty years is probably due to being a half-blooded royal. A pure-blooded royal wouldn’t be able to live if they were separated from their kin, either because of the mental effects of their power or because of their peculiar character.”
As his gray tunic touched the ground, the Secretary kneeled and put his hands together before the two royals.
“There was once a country that kidnapped one member of the royal family. After they saw the kings that rose to the throne in our country were wise, impartial, and great rulers, they hoped to gain a unique power and a wise ruler to save their exhausted nation. When we — the Gray Clan — located their whereabouts four years later and sent out the army to save him, he was already dead of starvation by the time we arrived at the castle. He was a young man but when he learned he wouldn’t be able to return to La Seine, he refused any medical treatment.
“Should this family be subjected to narrow — dare I say — narrow-minded ethics? If propriety is the law of the universe then it is the Royal Family who gave birth to that universe. The royal family can only love their blood relatives. If they lived in accordance with propriety, the royal family would have long been dead, the dynasty gone and the lands would have been devastated.”
The Secretary bowed his head as he spoke cheerfully in a clear voice. While Ashiyowa screamed in a wordless voice at the sky he clung to the Emperor, pressing his cheeks, wet with tears, into the Emperor’s shoulders.