137 Emperor's Recollection
Succession ritual must first be held before transfer of power to a new emperor.
The ritual is done in a private room attended only by the emperor and the previous emperor. A book gets taken out of a securely locked box of which the current emperor then transcribes.
The content is top secret, but also ordinary. It details street gossips, legends and folklore of the 'Black Clad'.
Despite sounding like a suspicious nonsense, today only a few people are aware about its existence, nobody is researching the topic and this was clearly the last known work on it.
But a name is written at the end of this book.
'Founding Emperor Laios'. This book was written by none other than the first emperor himself.
(It reads so vividly and even details the flows of events from start to finish. It's nothing like all the 'identical ones' circulating in the world. What does this mean?)
(Everything else looks like 'fake' in comparison to this book.)
Black Clad, is said to have been abandoned by gods.
Black Clad, is said to be free.
BLack Clad, is said to always stay true to themselves, unaltered.
"They must go around a mountain to reach a neighboring town, thus they bore a hole. Done through a single strike of their fist, they delivered a letter by vanishing only but for a moment after receiving the letter and then said, 'It's delivered.'"
"Not a moment is needed to split a huge amount of firewood, entering a mountain only to return in a blink of an eye with troves of game back."
"A single breath is all it takes to till the field, ten big water jugs get filled instantly when they draw water."
Even more impossible things are written besides that. Depicting life of an ordinary commoner. Daily life for some reason.
Not a word must be spoken until every letter has been transcribed in this ritual. The current emperor must keep writing while his father, the previous emperor watched over.
I could only glare at father for not explaining what does this all do with the succession ritual.
But once I finished transcribing, he said only a single line after ascertaining my work was flawless.
"Everything written here is real."
This was the most shocking thing I had ever felt in my life yet. No, likely also hereafter.
The previous emperor has 'recognized' what reads like a fictional work.
Clearly as 'real' at that. Declaring that what's written here truly took place.
And I too must recognize it as truth.
Know that the existence of Black Clad is real here and now.
I wanted to quip back. Strongly rejecting the idea of even believing that.
However, I could not even budge from the heavy pressure containing in the word 'Real' spoken by father.
Unsure whether father was aware of that, he burned it. The book he took from the box.
And told me to store the book I just transcribed into the box. And that would be the end of this ritual.
Father burned the book he transcribed. This is how the subject about Black Clad gets passed down.
Nothing about this felt real. But then I was told this as if denying me that.
"You must never speak what is contained in this book to a single soul."
The emperor recognizes it as real and yet they must never reveal it to public. Why would that be.
Why must us royalty know about a matter that has faded in public memory?
What is the real purpose hidden inside this gap? What does it entail?
Thus was written at the very end of the book.
"Get in contact carrying greed not, attempt to manipulate not, approach not with ill will. Failure to destroy me shall be the end of you. Know your own caliber."
～～～ ～～～～ ～～～ ～～～～
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I came back to my sense when the door to the hallway was knocked.
"Your majesty, there are several matters that require your urgent approvals. We await at your office."
"Very well. I shall be there. Get me tea if it looks like it's gonna take time."
I stood as I responded.
(Alvart will surely take it even while doubting, though not seriously.)
I contemplated while walking in the long hallway to my office.
(Goldeuro's probably not going to go through this ritual in the first place. That guy will definitely attempt to make me kneel by force, forgoing all tedium.)
I couldn't stop ruminating in my office.
(Third, fourth and fifth kids do not have the calibers. Reikana has potential. But there's the Black Clad...)
I finally directed my focus on the documents as I sunk on my chair. There were documents pertaining appointment of a new knight commander.
(Had I not asked Lervi the detail on Goddel's death. And the black hair and eyes, I would have forgotten about all that.)
Once the circumstances surrounding the duel was laid to me, I realized the Black Clad mentioned in that ritual is 'real'.
As well as the terror of not knowing what would happen in this castle where he's staying.
Doesn't matter how careful you try to avoid him, the moment that power is directed at me, there is simply no way to go against it.
Frankly, I cannot even imagine a way to cope.
(It won't be long until the Founding Ceremony. I suppose what will be, will be...)
Thus I began working on the documents before me.