༺ I Don’t Need a Guillotine for My Revolution ༻
Written by – 카르카손
Translated by – Mara Sov
༺ Civil War Period – The Plague ༻
In the drawing room of the Marquisate, after a winter colder than normal had passed, the warm glow of spring was welcomed.
Christine, as usual, elegantly lifted her cup and sipped her coffee, then slowly placed it back on the table.
I took a peek at the silver spoon she had used to stir her coffee before taking a sip as I opened my mouth.
“You’re looking better, Christine. That’s a relief.”
Christine’s deep black orbs stared at me for a moment.
After a while, Christine replied with a gentle smile.
“All thanks to you, Pierre.”
The last time I saw her was at the funeral of the former Count.
She managed to secure the County without any major physical harm, but emotionally, it was as if she had lost all of her family at once, even if they had betrayed her first.
Sparing the Countess’s son must have been a difficult choice for her as well.
Despite this, she conducted the funeral with a calm and composed attitude, successfully managing the unrest in the territory due to the scandalous events and the Count’s death.
Honestly, I’m lucky that this person is my ally, but as the one who involved her in this mess, I can’t help but feel conflicted.
Regardless of my feelings, the best I can do right now is to ensure that she, who took my hand, stays safe in the upcoming turmoil.
Christine took another sip of her coffee before saying.
“As you requested, I’m gathering information about the northern front through the merchant association.”
“I see. And how are things going there?”
“A mess, of course. Most lords are running out of resources, so they’re selling some taxation rights to lower nobility or wealthy merchants, some are borrowing money, and there are those who are simply squeezing dry their subjects even further to make some sort of profit. Moreover, the North suffered the most during this winter, as most of their crops are now ruined. There have been several peasant’s uprisings.”
The signs of the Revolution were unmistakable.
Even though the Kingdom of Francia was known for its warm climate and fertile lands, this recent winter brought unrelenting snow; even now that winter had passed and spring arrived, the land was still cold.
Amidst this, the lords were preoccupied with plundering each other’s lands, so the famine spread to the Kingdom.
“On top of that, near the frontlines, the armies of the First and Second Princes are besieging nearby cities, extorting money under all kinds of pretexts. From the cities’ perspectives, they’ve paid a high price for their autonomy, but now they are once again being pressured into paying taxes. Furthermore, if they refuse, they’re threatened, so their discontent is at an all-time high.”
After explaining the situation, Christine sighed and asked me.
“As you said, this Kingdom is nearing its limit. But even so, if the commoners were to revolt, how long could they possibly hold out against the overwhelming military power of the nobles? I’m still rather skeptical about that.”
Well, that was what everyone thought as well.
But the plague that will come will be as deadly as the mythical ‘Black Death’ that once brought the entire continent to the blink of oblivion.
“Honestly, when I look at everything that’s been happening in this Kingdom, I sometimes wonder if God himself desires its downfall.”
The plague’s epicenter was the battlefield in the North, where the main armies were stationed. Because of this, the armies were the first victims to fall, and even the First Prince died from the first contact with the disease.
Even the great ‘Blue Knight’ died, not as an honorable Knight on the battlefield, but as a miserable wretch in his sickbed.
“Ehh, Pierre. When you say things like that, it’s very disturbing, you know?”
Christine glared at me as I chuckled a little.
“Haha, my apologies.”
But with the memories of my past life, this feeling is beyond a mere disturbance.
After the death of the First Prince, the remnants of his faction begged for mercy from the Second Prince, but the Second Prince’s faction, who had almost no resources left, were only interested in sucking those remnants dry to make up for their losses.
The First Prince’s faction, now without their leader, was pushed south and clashed with the Second Prince’s faction; in this state of mutual exhaustion, the tattered army faced a Revolution erupting from the North.
Even then, the Second Prince’s faction, who didn’t take this revolution seriously, suffered repeated defeats at the hands of the revolutionaries, and only after did they reach out to the remnants of the First Prince’s Faction.
Thus, that was how I became a part of the Kingdom’s army, fighting the revolutionaries under the newly crowned King Louis, the former Second Prince.
And then he appeared.
“……You didn’t find him?”
“Him? Ah, you mean Raphael Valliant?”
Christine blinked before nodding her head.
“Yes. Honestly, there’s too little information about him. A city-born person, likely involved in the military, and his name. It’s almost impossible to find him with just that. There’s simply too many people living in Francia.”
“Hmm, I thought he might have already made a name for himself……”
I smiled bitterly.
He was very young when he took over as the commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary Army. As such, I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t come to the stage yet.
Even amid the Revolution, the Kingdom’s army was objectively stronger. The simple fact that the Royalists were defeated in a series of battles was entirely due to his efforts.
If possible, I wanted to contact him early on, or at least secure him. But alas, some things were simply not meant to be.
“I’ll keep looking. But if he’s from the North, then honestly, I don’t have any hopes of finding him. Even the Aquitaine merchants can’t set foot in that hellscape.”
“Well, I appreciate your efforts, nonetheless.”
“Since we are allies I suppose I should tell you this as well. Both the First and Second Prince’s factions have shown a lot of interest in me.”
“……I’m sure they have.”
The Aquitaine County has maintained neutrality without supporting either faction. But since they were allies with Lafayette, their implicit support for the First Prince could be deduced.
However, now that my engagement with Christine has broken off and even the head of the family has changed, it’s not surprising that both sides are eyeing Aquitaine County.
Besides, Christine herself is a very attractive young woman, who is wealthy, unmarried, and the sole successor of her family since her half-brother is already out of favor in the eyes of her subjects.
There could hardly be a more desirable woman in the Kingdom.
“I’ve received a lot of marriage proposals. Some weren’t even that bad.”
After saying this, Christine slowly picked a cookie and put it in her mouth, all the while staring at me.
“Is that so.”
“Ah, what a letdown. My ex-fiancee is not even interested in me anymore.”
“From what I know of you, you would be the one not interested in such proposals.”
Christine laughed even more at my answer.
“Of course, of course. I have no wish to marry right away. They are simply a bunch of hyenas who are coveting Aquitaine, and……”
She paused, her expression turning sad.
She didn’t continue, but I had an idea of what she wanted to say.
Whoever becomes Christine’s husband would be the first to try to eliminate her younger brother.
After a short moment, Christine clapped her hands in an attempt to clear the mood.
“I heard there’s a book called ‘Theory of Social Hierarchy’ that’s becoming very popular in the North. It’s about commoners not getting their fair share of rights compared to the nobility and the clergy. Could this be related to what you were talking about?”
I couldn’t help but frown at her words.
“……Theory of Social Hierarchy?”
“Hmm, it seems there are things even you don’t know?”
“Of course not. Could you possibly get a copy of this book?”
“Certainly. I’ll find one for you.”
Christine quickly agreed, but I couldn’t shake off this unease.
At that moment, someone knocked on the door.
“Excuse me for interrupting, Young Master. There’s urgent news from the North.”
“I’m sorry, Christine.”
“It’s fine, I myself am a bit curious about this news.”
“Please come in.”
Baron Domont entered and paid his respects to me and Christine before handing over the letter.
The contents of the letter were very simple.
An outbreak of a deadly plague was happening in the North.
I read the contents of the letter for Christine who looked at me with an eyebrow raised.
I wasn’t sure whether to be relieved because the event I was expecting finally occurred or to be worried about its devastating consequences.
I sighed involuntarily.
“……We are going to become very busy very soon.”
“Close the gates!”
“Closing the gates – Closed!”
While mounted on my horse, I watched as the capital of the Marquisate – Toulouse went into lockdown.
Inside the city, officials with white cloth over their mouths were going from house to house, instructing the commoners to stay indoors as much as possible and to boil their water before drinking.
Turning my horse, I galloped towards the Marquisate’s manor.
The sudden news of the plague had thrown the city into a flurry of activity and the residents were all anxious.
Still, the situation here was much better compared to my previous life.
This time, I was already aware of the incoming plague, and unlike the former Count of Aquitaine, who only pretended to be allied with Lafayette, I had Christine procure the necessary supplies.
Thanks to the sizable profit gained from the Abyss Corporation, we had a decent supply of medicine, and even with the city in lockdown, there was enough food to prevent my subjects from starving.
It took some time to issue the same directives and distribute the supplies to each village in the Marquisate before the lockdown was in effect, but it seems we managed to do it just in time.
The conditions in the North, where the plague ravaged the land due to poor sanitation conditions, were incomparable to the actual circumstances of the Marquisate.
Despite this, I was still worried.
The book called ‘Theory of Social Hierarchy’ was already in circulation, and I, stuck in the Marquisate, was unaware of its existence.
It’s not something that would circulate between the nobility due to its contents, but……
Christine’s assassination attempt happened just as they did last time.
The outbreak of the plague also occurred just as before.
But could I be certain that the First Prince and the Marquis would die to the plague this time as well?
Entering my office, I recalled the time when I first heard of the Marquis’s passing because of the plague, not in battle.
At that time, I felt neither sorrow nor joy. Just a profound sense of emptiness.
Even the mightiest of men, who always looked down on me in disdain were no different from a candle in the wind against the hand of fate.
Because of this, I always believed that the Marquis’s death was inevitable.
However, Christine was also supposed to die. And yet, she lives.
If either the First Prince or the Marquis survives, or conversely, if the Second Prince dies, the future would change drastically.
I bit my lips while pondering over this.
Now, with the plague, there will be no way to receive news from the North.
Getting the book will also be near impossible due to the lockdown.
The outcome after the plague subsides is something I must leave in fate’s hands.
With a sense of powerlessness, I entered the office where a pigeon was at the window.
It was a courier pigeon I gifted to Christine, with a paper tied on its leg.
This was the only means of communication during the lockdown, but even then, it had its limits.
They can only go to places they remember, so once they are sent, that’s it.
With this in mind, there were only a few messages important enough for Christine to send.
I quickly unfolded the message.
[Dear Acting Marquis Pierre De Lafayette.
You are in luck. The merchant guild has ceased all operations due to the lockdown, but a returning merchant ship brought me some news.
Near Montpellier, in the southeastern part of the Kingdom, there are rumors about a woman wearing a full-length veil and a man who escorts her as she treats the sick.
I hope this is the news you were waiting for, and I pray for everlasting peace and safety in the Lafayette Marquisate.
I clenched my fist.
I found her.
The Holy Maiden who cared for the sick and performed miracles. The one hailed as a Saintess while the Holy Clergy of this rotten Kingdom turned a blind eye to those in need. The woman who was ultimately accused of witchcraft and was killed by the very hands of those whom she helped.
She was the Princess who disappeared from the capital at the start of the Civil War.