Ling Yue heard me approaching. She turned to look in the direction I came from. She opened her eyes and looked over with her blood-red eyes. Despite knowing how her eyes looked, I was still slightly frightened in that instant. Ling Yue gently shook out her fur and questioned, “So, what’s your final decision? How are you going to deal with these things?”
“Destroy the entire city.”
I caressed Ling Yue’s leg. She looked at me with mixed emotions then sighed. She softly asked, “Do you really have to destroy this place?”
“I have no choice. I can’t allow a single one of them to escape. If even a single one of them reaches humanity, it’ll be disastrous. I can’t take the risk. I know that destroying this entire city is cruel and ruthless, but I don’t have a choice. For the majority, for this world and for your sakes, I won’t hesitate to pay any price. Let me shoulder it all. I no longer feel anything; I’ve finally realised that now. Ling Yue, I said I’d destroy this city, which means that I’m going to murder thirty thousand people, yet I don’t feel anything. Can you understand that? Ling Yue, I’ll be carrying the weight of thirty thousand lives, yet I don’t feel scared or worried whatsoever. I’m as calm as if I’m about to have a daily meal. How frightening, huh…?”
Ling Yue gently leaned her head over and licked my face. In a quiet voice, she replied, “It can’t be helped. You’re a King. You don’t see just one or two people or a city or two. What you should be looking at is the entire world, this entire nation. No matter what happens to you or what you have to shoulder, I’ll always stand by your side. You’re my husband, and I know what you did. You don’t need the entire world to know what exactly you did. Only you need to know what you did. A King isn’t someone who does what everyone considers to be correct. Because you stand alone, you need to always be aware that what you’re doing is right, and that’s all that matters.”
I wasn’t a democrat. I was a dictator. I didn’t ask for anyone’s approval when I acted. Nobody would know my reasons for doing what I do. I’d be the only one who knew. I had no need to explain what happened to everyone. I protected the world that I had and those around me. Nevertheless, sometimes, protecting oneself means that others would get hurt in the process. I had to destroy whatever I wanted to protect. That was my misery and what I had to do.
What would they think when they saw the burnt city? What would they think of me? Previously, I used ice to wipe out the entire anthropoid army. Today, the entire continent would be able to see the fire I set to Troy City. What exactly did I leave behind? What exactly did I accomplish?
I didn’t need to think about so much, and I had no way of explaining it clearly. All I needed to ensure was that I, alone, understood and was aware of what I did. After all, everyone in the North, all the elves at Duargana and all the people at Hilles City were just marionettes. I just wanted to ensure the puppeteer who controlled them was a wise puppeteer. That was enough to me.
“Have you made up your mind? If Vyvyan was in your shoes, she’d have already made up her mind. You may be her son, but it appears you aren’t as resolute as her. Vyvyan doesn’t kill people at random. When she does feel that she must kill in order to protect something that must be protected, though, she’ll protect it no matter the cost and walk her own path. As she always remains rational, she always takes the right course of action. The same can be said for you in that aspect. You know what you’re doing is right, so why hesitate? What, because of that one thing they said? So what if you make everyone fear you? You’re doing the right thing. Since you’re doing the right thing, why must you concern yourself with how others perceive you?”
“I’m not worried about others…”
“Are you worried about yourself?”
“What exactly… has happened to me?”
I looked at my hand. It was my hand, yet it looked foreign to me. I actually even hated it, as a matter of fact. When I first went through ordeals with Nier… I admonished her, only for her to reproach me. I didn’t have to kill. Or rather, I grew addicted to the sensation of killing people. The first time I experienced the joy of taking from others. The first time I killed, I felt a strange ecstatic feeling when I saw him plead for mercy in despair and heard his cries. I unarguably changed. I totally changed into someone I began to feel disgusted with. Nier was right. I became hysterical. I used “protecting others” as an excuse to take from others. I went to extremes to protect what I wanted to protect.
Thirty thousand people. I had to do my best to make them the last thirty thousand people. I planned to build Troy City up again after I tore it asunder. Next time, however, I wouldn’t let the next thirty thousand meet the same fate. I didn’t do anything for thirty thousand people. Although I was busy protecting people, I didn’t add them to the to-be-protected list. The pope was right. I never thought about saving them. I considered Troy City to be important, but I never considered the thirty thousand people to be important. What seemed to be their mistake was, in actual fact, my mistake. I failed to protect the people I considered to be my citizens.
“In that case, leave it all to me. I know you can’t bear to do it, so shut your eyes, and let me use your body. I’ll destroy the city. You won’t feel guilty then, right? Of course, I promised that I wouldn’t do anything uncalled for or go too far. Oh, by the way, I do want to hug that city little fox, though. That’s fine with you, right?”
“Why are you so petty?! It’s your body that I’m hugging her with anyway!!”
“I meant that I don’t want to shut my eyes. You can use my body to cast spells, but I want to see and remember it forever. My decisions led to the deaths of thirty thousand people, but I have to kill them. It’s contradictory. Still, I want to use this as a reminder to remind myself of what I should do.”
“I see… Well, as long as you let me hug the little fox, I don’t care either way. In saying that, don’t do anything that will sadden your family, and you’ll be fine. Make sure to listen to others from now on. Whatever happens, calm down and assess the course of action you should take first.”