|As King, and as Father
Former Capital, Sol Alberia
Audric: The capital... Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would return here.
Cassandra: It WAS ruled by the iron fist of the Other until recently. We couldn't simply stroll on in. But now? I think we can get away with a little recklessness.
Cassandra: After all, young Emile is the one sitting in the seat of the emperor.
Cassandra: My experience with him in this world has yet to reveal an abundance of wisdom in the boy. What about in yours?
Audric: A good question. Unlike his siblings, he does not outwardly seem to possess the same quick wit.
Cassandra: Then the fact that the city is deserted doesn't look like it's down to a difference between the worlds.
Audric: In my travels, I had heard tell of its reputation, but...this is truly terrible.
Cassandra: There's hardly any human activity. I'd swear the place was in ruin if I didn't know better.
Cassandra: Well, it's little wonder. The new emperor is adept at inventing reasons to persecute.
Cassandra: There even seem to be some who believe the reign of the previous emperor was preferable, oppressive though it was.
Audric: I'd hoped things would improve once they were distanced from the Other's rule.
Audric: It beggars belief that the people could in fact look back fondly on such a dark time. Yet another of my—
Cassandra: Yet another of your sins? Honestly, you could do with a new schtick. This one has worn out its welcome.
Cassandra: Though I certainly cannot imagine either you OR Aurelius winning the award for Father of the Year.
Audric: ...I have no retort. Yet that is all the more reason why I must take responsibility.
Cassandra: And just how to you intend to... Hm? What's that?
Emile: Yes, perfect, right here! My statue is going to bring the taste level up around here by SEVERAL notches.
Emile: Oh, and I'm talking a HUGE one—I want people to be able to see my immortalized face from anywhere in the city!
Imperial Soldier: But this place isn't big enough to build something so large...
Emile: Then we just have to level the area!
Imperial Soldier: You mean demolish all the houses here?! What about the people living in them?
Emile: EXCUSE me?! A bunch of termite-infested hovels or a BRILLIANT statue of me—can you not grasp which is more important?!
Imperial Soldier: B-but...
Audric: Blast it, Emile! Just listen to yourself!
Cassandra: Steady, Audric. If you were to fly into action out there, you'd only make the situation worse.
Audric: I know. Right now, I am merely a traveler. If only there was someone who remembered my appearance... Hrm?
???: Your Highness...er, Your Majesty.
Emile: What do you want, Magnus?
Magnus: Will you leave this matter to me, sire?
Emile: ...Fine, whatever. Don't disappoint me.
Magnus: I will be sure that the result is in keeping with your heart's desire, Your Majesty.
Imperial Soldier: Sir Magnus... Should we proceed?
Magnus: It is an imperial decree. We must obey.
Imperial Soldier: ......
Audric: Is that Magnus?
Cassandra: That name seems to ring a bell... Ah, that's right! He was the knight in charge of educating Emile as a boy.
Audric: Just so. He was appointed for his strong sense of justice and unbending morals, which we thought would do Emile good.
Audric: I can scarcely believe that he would meekly obey such a heinous order.
Audric: ...I cannot leave things as they are.
Magnus: Busy times are ahead, it would seem. But for now, I—
Audric: Magnus. I did not appoint you as Emile's instructor so that you would go around cleaning up his messes.
Magnus: What? Who speaks? You would do well to bite your tongue ere you slander His Majesty.
Audric: Have you no recollection of this face, Magnus?
Magnus: ...What?! It...it cannot be. Impossible!
Cassandra: Seeing a man who died long ago standing before you—looking tens of years younger, to boot—IS rather absurd.
Magnus: The court magician, too?! And looking as she did back then... Am I dreaming right now?
Audric: You may think of it like that—as though your former lord has come here from the world beyond with a warning.
Magnus: A warning... I see. I suppose if you really were King Aurelius, you would not be able to overlook the state of the royal capital.
Audric: You seem well aware of it yourself. So why do you lie indolent, Magnus?
Audric: You are an upright man who abhors iniquity even more than I. I remember you flaring up often about perfidy and immorality.
Magnus: That you remember my outbursts brings me deep shame.
Audric: You should feel nothing of the sort. That uncompromising morality is why I entrusted Emile to your care.
Audric: And if you are the man you once were, you more than anyone would be aware of the terrible state of this city.
Audric: Why do you balk at your duty to my son? You are to provide remonstration, and if necessary, guide him to his eternal rest should you judge him beyond salvation.
Cassandra: Your king has asked you a question, Magnus. Silence will not be tolerated.
Magnus: It is as if decades have turned back before my eyes. I recall well being admonished by the former court magician.
Cassandra: Because you were even more obstinate than Aurelius. I wanted to give you a telling-off on more than one occasion.
Magnus: Indeed I was... This truly takes me back.
Audric: And I. Yet we did not come here to rekindle old friendships. I ask for your answer, Magnus.
Magnus: It is because...I believe in him.
Audric: What is it you believe in? What do you see in my son?
Magnus: His ability.
Cassandra: Ability? In young Emile?
Magnus: I know what you mean to say. It is true that Prince Emile is the most unlike His Majesty of any of his siblings.
Cassandra: You mean he lacks the talent to be a ruler?
Magnus: That is a valid perspective, but...I believe that he, more than any other, is well aware of that fact.
Magnus: He feels keenly how powerless he is to act on his own.
Magnus: Yet I believe that he possesses a resourcefulness as a ruler that even Your Majesty, the Wise King himself, did not.
Audric: And so you pinned your hopes on that ability. Even so...
Audric: The people are suffering under Emile's tyranny. One can hardly call it governance.
Magnus: I know that. I believe we should support him until a sense of kingly duty sprouts within his heart.
Audric: Your loyalty is commendable, but we speak of a young man who has no head for rule in nothing less than the seat of the emperor.
Audric: So long as he calls himself a lord of anything, Emile has a responsibility. One he must shoulder himself.
Audric: And if he would not do so, then he has no right to preside over anything or anyone.
Magnus: You are correct. Such is why I so dearly respect you. Yet... How does the weight of that judgment bear down on the bond between father and son?
Magnus: Emile wants, more than anything, to feel as though he will be all right. He is ever struggling, ever desperate for help.
Magnus: In such times, is it not a parent's role to support him?
Audric: ...I do not recall commanding you to be a parent to him.
Magnus: I do not claim the role so gleefully. But what choice do I have if there is no one else to do it for him?
Magnus: With all due respect, Your Majesty, the one who was not enough for Emile...was you.
Magnus: Speaking as the wise ruler you are, you assert correctly that a foolish ruler or a tyrant ought to be deposed.
Magnus: But speaking as a father? You made the choice to cut off your own son's future... and that is where I believe you are wrong.
Audric: As a father, you say...