Fourteenth Chapter – Students Arc
Reason for Exile
Philine’s voice trembled as she spoke.
With a stunned look on her face, it was clear that she could not believe the words that came out of Dorothea’s mouth.
“Please wait, Your Majesty Dorothea. Why would you do you that to Philine-sama――”
“Quiet, Claire François. This is the Empire’s matter. I don’t want to hear anything from you outsiders.”
Claire-sama, who was still trying to express her protests, was met with a diabolical smile from Dorothea.
“Or what? Are you going to tell me that Philine being sent away would be an inconvenience to you?”
―― We were found out.
Most likely, Dorothea knew that we had dragged her into plotting against her.
“Did you really think I wouldn’t know about it? What a shame. Even if Philine is just an ornament of a princess, she’s still the Imperial Princess. She’s being guarded at all times, so everything she does is subjected to being reported.”
That was something we had missed.
Even if we didn’t notice it ourselves, Philine was constantly under surveillance.
We were trying to be careful about it, but somehow, it seemed that Dorothea was just one step ahead of us.
“I overlooked the part where you managed to establish a connection with the Ministry. For somebody like you, who has done absolutely nothing until now, that was something I actually wanted to praise you for.”
“But,” Dorothea continued as she stared at Philine.
“Establishing a connection with the anti-government rebellious forces is where you crossed the line. They are a group that are directly trying to oppose me. By cooperating with them, that means you are also rebelling against me. That is something I will not overlook.”
When Dorothea made a signal with her hand, a group of guards entered the audience chamber.
Each of them was carrying a weapon in their hands.
I stood in front of Claire-sama and braced myself for what was to come.
“Back off, Rei Taylor. I’ll overlook what you did. Consider it debt clearance for dealing with the demon this time around. Plus, I owe you favors from what you’ve done before. However, keep in mind that you will not get another chance.”
While Dorothea was addressing me, Philine was being apprehended.
Philine didn’t seem to offer any resistance and remained obedient the whole time.
Just when I thought she had resigned herself to it,
“Mother! At this rate, the Empire will be destroyed! Please listen to what I have to say!”
She strongly pleaded with Dorothea to listen.
It seemed that the light in her eyes hadn’t succumbed to the darkness just yet.
“Oh? You’ve got something to say, huh. Very well. I’ll hear you out.”
Dorothea’s lips curled as if she had witnessed something interesting.
“The Empire has made too many enemies already! The nation will soon become unsustainable!”
“If we have any enemies, we’ll just drive them away. It’s worked out up until now, and it’ll continue working from now on.”
Dorothea’s words were incredibly similar to what Hilda had said before.
“Maybe it’s fine for now while you are still alive! But what would we do if you happened to lose your life!? The Empire wouldn’t be able to stand on its own two feet anymore without you! Things can’t stay this way anymore!”
“I won’t die for the foreseeable future. And besides, what happens after I die is up to my successor to decide.”
Isn’t that a little bit too irresponsible of you, Your Majesty?
I don’t mean to idealize politicians, but even they work for the sake of the nation’s future.
That was exactly what Philine was doing.
She was worried about the future of the Empire.
However, Dorothea was only ever concerned about whatever happens in her own lifespan.
“Mother! Just what do you think it means to be at the helm of the throne?!”
“The helm of the throne? I don’t really care about that. I just do what I want. If you want to get me to change my mind, then show me your strength.”
Dorothea’s violent ideology remained rampant.
“Philine, you have your own sense of justice. That’s only natural. It’s uncommon to find situations where justice has to fight against evil. It’s usually one’s sense of justice fighting against another’s sense of justice. That’s why, if you want to express your own justice, you must have the power to back it up.”
“Justice without the power to back it up is nothing but child’s play. Those who preach about their ideals must be able to take some sort of action. Those who don’t have any power have no right to express their ideals.”
It was an extreme argument.
It was an extreme argument, but there was some truth behind it.
No matter how noble your ideals were, if you didn’t have the power to make them take shape, there was no point.
That was why politics are also a game of power.
“Mother…… You have no power.”
“……? What are you trying to say?”
Philine didn’t waver there.
Even in the face of somebody with overwhelming power like Dorothea, without taking a step back, she found the words to fight back with.
“No matter what zero gets multiplied by, the result will always still be zero. If you mistake the justice you have from the very beginning, then all you’re left with is just plain violence.”
This is probably what Philine wanted to convey:
Even if you multiply zero by anything else, you will only ever get zero.
With a more concrete number – for example, one – if you keep multiplying it, it could even eventually reach a number as high as 100,000.
If you make a mistake with the number you have right from the very beginning, so in this case, power―― all you’re left with is disastrous results.
“If your justice is wrong, then no matter how much power you have, it will always still be wrong. I can acknowledge that having power is very important. However, I believe that having a sense of justice is even more important. Your sense of justice is wrong, mother.”
Philine said resolutely even while she was being restrained.
The same Philine, who seemed so sheepish and meek before, was now standing on equal footing with Dorothea.
“Are you trying to tell me that I’m wrong?”
“…… Well said. You are the first person who has tried to oppose me face-to-face. Naturally, I assume you’re prepared to face the consequences?”
As I looked at Philine, who had resolved herself to being a martyr, I thought to myself that this was no good.
Philine had bet her entire life away in order to appeal to her mother.
She was sacrificing her life for her own ideals.
But in the end, something like that was no good.
Personally, I think that if you hold your own sense of justice and ideals, you must survive long enough to make them bear fruit.
You can’t just let yourself die.
Even during the revolution, Claire-sama had that sort of aspect to her – that if she was going to die, she wanted to die as a noble – but I thought that was a disappointing thing.
That’s why I don’t want to see anybody die for their cause.
Just as I was about to open my mouth to plea for her life,
“Your Majesty, please wait.”
It was the elderly man that intervened between their conversation.
“What is it, old man? Don’t interject with unnecessary things.”
“I cannot accept this. Philine-sama is a very excellent and capable person. At the very least, I think she is more politically competent than the other crown princes that are too cowardly to say anything to you directly, Your Majesty.”
The elderly man spoke gently.
It was as if he chose his tone of voice carefully in order to soothe the tension that had risen between Philine and Dorothea.
“But this one is directly rebelling against me.”
“Philine-sama is still young. She’s bound to make mistakes. Perhaps if she gets to learn more about the affairs of the outside world, and with more knowledge of politics under her belt, she will come to understand your line of thinking by herself, Your Majesty.”
“Philine-sama. Please don’t say any more. Just hold your mouth for now. This is the only thing I will beg of you to do in my life.”
Upon being begged by the elderly man, Philine kept quiet.
When I looked closely, the elderly man looked like he had sweat accumulating on his forehead.
For the elderly man, who had also believed that Philine had the potential to change the future of the Empire, having this nip in the bud was something he wanted to avoid at all costs.
Just judging by the flow of the conversation from earlier, it seemed that rather than exiling Philine, it was possible that she was about to get executed on the spot.
“Haah…… If you’re pleading for it that badly, old man, then I guess I have no choice. Have Philine exiled like originally planned.”
“Thank you very much, Your Majesty.”
“Take her away.”
Philine looked like she wanted to say something, but decided to keep her mouth shut as she obediently let herself get taken away.
“Rei Taylor, Claire François. Normally, I would order you both out of the country as well, but I owed you several favors. I’ll turn a blind eye to these recent events. However, don’t do anything unnecessary from here on out.”
After saying her piece, Dorothea stood up from her throne.
As for me and Claire-sama, all we could do was express our gratitude to her before taking our leave.
We’re back with chapter 14! As usual, each part will be released every day at 11 AM UTC. This chapter will consist of 15 parts, we hope to see you over the next two weeks! If you haven’t done so already, feel free to join us in Jingle’s Discord server, where we’ll ping those who wish to receive notifications for any IFTV updates. Of course, anybody who doesn’t want to receive those notifications are opted out of them by default, so come swing by if you just want to chat!
If you’ve missed it last month, you can find Rei’s birthday celebration extra chapter (that’s a mouthful) here! The extra episode (“A Cold“) is a short chapter of Rei taking Claire while she’s down with a cold.
As usual, thank you for reading I Favor the Villainess, and I hope you all enjoy what’s to come!