༺ I Don’t Need a Guillotine for My Revolution ༻
Written by – 카르카손
Translated by – Mara Sov
༺ Revolutionary Period – National Assembly (2) ༻
South of Loire River, there has been a growing discontent with the Revolutionary government because of their religious persecution and the confiscation of the church’s property.
Because of this, when conscription officers were sent to draft soldiers the locals resisted and protested, which ended in the death of one officer and with his entourages either injured or killed as well.
“This is a betrayal to the motherland!”
“We freed those peasants from the oppression and now they dare to act against the Revolution?!”
The National Assembly was boiling with shouts and clamor filled with anger.
Until now, the Revolution represented the rightful justice.
The old regime was the enemy, and the future envisioned by them was one where the people united under a single banner in opposition to this enemy.
The banner of the Revolution.
But now, those who opposed this ideal weren’t the nobles or the royalty, but the very same people whom the revolution sought to free.
“Those fools have been defending the corrupt clergy from the beginning! There’s no doubt those ignorant peasants have been warped by the clergy!”
Naturally, the National Assembly believed that a third factor must have been behind the uprising.
“Perhaps they were merely agents bought with noble money-“
At this comment from an Assembly member, a brief silence ensued as all eyes were directed toward Christine and me.
Since the region where the revolt occurred was close to Bordeaux – the Capital of Aquitaine – they must have suspected her.
“According to the reports, the conscription officer and his entourage executed some residents first. Shouldn’t we verify the sequence of facts leading to this revolt first, before deciding—“
Some of the moderates tried to reason with the angry mob, but their opinions were quickly rebutted.
“What if they rise against us again? We are on the cusp of war against the King and other nations, and those fools dare to defy the Revolutionary government. This is clear proof that those ignorant wretches are traitors to the Republic!”
“They have been swayed by the King or they were corrupted by the other nations!”
“How dare they rebel against the government when the whole country needs to be united to defend our motherland?! If they aren’t traitors then what are they?”
Suddenly, all eyes turned to the current leader of radicals, Prosecutor Maximillien Le Jidor.
“We have freed ourselves from the chains of the old regime and built a Republic for the people. To protect this Republic, the people must be guided by reason. And our enemies must be guided by fear. The Revolutionary government stands as a dictatorship of liberty against the despotism of the monarchy. Since they have rebelled against us, then this simply means they are enemies of the people.”
He easily branded an entire province as traitors of the government.
Were these the same people who sentenced me to the guillotine, alleging I plundered enemy territories during the civil war?
This cannot stand.
“Death to the traitors of the Republic-“
“Allow me to make a statement.”
The sudden shouts were cut off by my voice, as the members of the Assembly looked at me.
Perhaps because I don’t usually show my face in this council, my sudden proclamation garnered their attention.
“I believe it would be premature to label them as rebels now.”
“How are those who refused to heed our Republic’s call and even harmed the officers, not rebels?”
“From the reports, we can see that our officers have harmed them first. I also do not wish to act against our own people when we are dealing with a foreign invasion. Perhaps our harsh actions may only force them to side with the King.”
“The General is being very cautious, isn’t he? He’s refusing to suppress the insurgents.”
“Caution? More like cowardice.”
Sarcastic remarks flew from left to right, but I focused on Jidor as I waited for his next words.
“……As you already know, Marquis, our time is short. Winter will soon end and we could be at war at any moment, so it’s crucial to nip those rebels in the bud as soon as possible.”
Jidor’s reason was sound.
Should we hesitate for too long, there’s a definitive risk of facing a two-front battle in the next months.
“These people are merely protestants, not rebels. However, should we raise our army against them, then we will surely have a full-blown rebellion to take care of.”
Looking at Christine, I could see her nod before I continued.
“Moreover, we do not have a just cause. As you know, these people have united around the clergy and the Holy Theocracy must be observing this situation. Surely you must know from where the Republic is importing weapons and other goods since every other nation has blocked any sort of trade with us.”
“Bah-. He’s just trying to preserve the monopoly Aquitaine has!”
“Regardless of my intentions, it won’t change the truth that our only route of commerce is through the Holy Theocracy. What will we do if our harsh actions of eliminating these ‘rebels’ cause the Theocracy to cut off our trade?”
Do you even have an alternative?
“Or perhaps we could return to the times when the prices soared, the inflation skyrocketed, and there was no control whatsoever on the Republic’s finances? With foreign armies approaching, how will you arm the newly recruited soldiers? If everything else fails we could give them farming tools and send them to their deaths, right?”
“First of all, we need to understand the situation and what their demands are. Only after doing this, will we have a just cause to deal with them, should they be found guilty of treason.”
Everyone became silent.
After a couple of seconds, Jidor opened his mouth.
“This doesn’t change the fact that they harmed agents of the government. Could we even communicate with those people? If by prolonging their judgment we end up giving them time to join the old regime, the responsibility for this failure will fall on you, Marquis. It will be your burden to carry.”
As I thought, they wouldn’t let things slide this easily.
Indeed, if this goes wrong it will be on me.
But due to the promised favor from the Holy Theocracy, and to prevent the Revolutionaries from running wild, I cannot allow this to pass.
“Don’t worry. Since most of their problems seem to originate from their faith, I shall go with someone they won’t disrespect.”
And most of all.
Our future Queen would never approve of this course of action, being a Saint recognized by the Theocracy itself.
Damien De Millbeau, who was rushing through his preparations to deploy to the eastern front on my orders, frothed upon hearing that I’d leave the Capital. Without giving him a chance or respite, I departed from Lumiere with Eris in order to contact the protesters.
Although I was worried about what would happen in the Capital during my absence, I trusted that Christine would prevent the public’s opinion from deteriorating.
Due to the lack of time, I selected only a few Knights and cavalrymen instead of a full procession.
While I rode my horse, I smiled at Eris who was next to me as she tinkered with her white robes, while Sir Beaumont followed us from behind with Eris’s harp strapped to his back.
“This reminds me of our time in the south.”
“It feels like that happened just yesterday.”
Eris, who had lifted her veil giggled in response.
“It’s been two years already.”
“Sigh-. That long?”
“You’ve grown into a beautiful woman, My Lady.”
While Sir Beaumont said this in a warm and grandfatherly tone, Eris’s reply was absolutely merciless.
“You’re sounding like an old man, Uncle Francois.”
Sir Beaumont seemed to be unable to recover from such a dreadful wound, as he shut his mouth in shock.
When we first met, Eris was only 16, and even with her mystical appearance, she was still very much a child. But now she has become a lady in her own right.
With her mouth closed, no one would deny her saint status.
Well……If only she kept her mouth shut that is.
“Why are you looking at me like that?”
“No, it’s nothing.”
If everything goes as planned, she’ll be crowned our Queen someday, but no matter how much time passes, I cannot help but see her more as an annoying younger sister than my future sovereign.
“Why do I have this feeling that you’re thinking some rude things about me……?”
“……Look ahead, Eris.”
Upon hearing my words, Eris turned her gaze forward and soon she let out a soft ‘Ah-‘.
As we approached the city’s entrance and stopped our horses, the gathered people all kneeled at once.
“……I told you, didn’t I? We would need your status soon.”
Instead of replying to me, Eris dismounted from the horse and walked towards them, as the elderly man standing at the forefront, clad in bishop’s robes bowed to Eris as he said.
“It’s an honor to welcome the faithful lambs of God. This humble bishop, Johann greets the holy saint and the Marquis of Lafayette.”
“Laudatus dominus deus Sanctus.”
In a devout chapel, a clear song echoed. The soft and calming light of the candles shone on her white hair and pale skin. It almost made her look embraced by the light.
“Hosanna in excelsis.”
Eris had never led a communal before, but she answered the congregation’s pleas despite her inexperience.
Only now did I realize that the songs Eris sometimes sang were ancient rhymes used in the Holy Theocracy.
“Dona nobis pacem.”
Her saintly demeanor was further cemented as she continued to sing the ancient rhymes while emanating her ‘Divine Power’. Even someone like me couldn’t help but be entranced by her saintliness, while the villagers were completely spellbound by her.
Since Eris herself is a non-believer, her mother must have taught her those songs.
While I watched the communal while sitting in a corner, Bishop Johann approached me.
“Would you grant this old man the honor of sitting beside you, Marquis?”
“Of course. After all, I came here to listen to the woes of the people.”
Johann nodded his head as he said.
“I understand that you are the General in command of the southern army of the Republic. You must be here because of the ongoing unrest.”
“Correct. I represent the Republic, but my goal is to assess the situation and find a peaceful resolution for it. While on this topic, it appears that you hold some sway over these people, Bishop.”
“Haha, as much as it shames me, I have to disagree. Had you not brought the Saint with you, it wouldn’t have been easy to even have this conversation.”
Johann hesitated for a moment before continuing.
“We are well aware of the grace shown by the Marquis acting as the Saint’s sponsor.
But we also know a lot more things. We know that the new government is not as moderate as it appears to be……The resentment shown by these people didn’t grow overnight.”
Although Johann’s demeanor was quite cautious, he appeared to have some awareness of the situation.
He must know we stood on the brink of a crisis.
“In this land, we are acculturated with a modest life. We have no significant resources to trade, so the people here have grown used to living in a tight community. The same goes for the church. Though we collect tithes, they are used to improve our community.”
I see. If that’s the case then it’s no wonder these locals are protesting.
In their eyes, the church isn’t a corrupt institution to be dismantled, but a member of their community.
And now some outsiders, whose dealings with them were almost nonexistent due to the old system, are now persecuting their way of life. This would naturally breed discontent.
“……So they rioted?”
“Just before the riot began, the tax collectors had demanded a heavy war tax. Following this, a conscription order came and this became the last straw for these people.”
Johann paused for a moment, his face became grim.
“So, to make a demonstration of force, the tax collectors ordered the soldiers to execute a few people. The next day, this news spread around the community, who immediately took arms against them.”
Obviously, I cannot take his word for granted, but if this is true, then it’s clear that the Revolutionaries are the ones at fault here.
“……Marquis, we’ve received a recent proposal from Count Lionel. He said that should there be another revolt, he would be willing to lend his assistance.”
Sigh-. In the Count’s eyes, the Revolutionaries are nothing more than rebels.
“…And why are you informing me of this?”
“My Lord. I don’t know what the Revolutionaries think, but the people of this land do not wish to side with the King, nor do they wish to rise against the Republic.”
Johann’s tone became desperate.
“They just want to protect their way of life. We also don’t want a situation where foreign nations invade, forcing us to shed the blood of our people. Please, My Lord, I beg you, convey our truth to the Revolutionary government.”
I…This is more complicated than I expected.
I can see that they were indeed wronged.
Ultimately, what they seek is the end of the oppression of their religion and the assurance to maintain their way of life, something akin to autonomy.
On the other hand, the Revolutionary government, the Republic, and especially the radicals led by Jidor are pursuing the centralization of the nation under a single, united rulership.
For those people, admitting the Republic’s flaws and recognizing the autonomy of this territory would be challenging.
Moreover, my own situation is also complicated as I need to settle this matter quickly and head to the battlefield.
Only by acting as the General of the Southern army and repelling the invasion, I can solidify my position in the government.
However, from what I can see, this isn’t an issue I can solve by simply punishing the evil-doer.
I sighed, as I glanced at the Bishop who still had a hopeful look in his eyes, and to Eris who continued to sing her holy rhyme.
“Sigh-. It won’t be easy.”
Even if the Theocracy wasn’t involved, I can’t just simply leave these people suffering from an injustice they themselves tried to resist.
Besides, if I deal with this problem, I could use it as a justification to undermine the radical’s influence in the National Assembly.
So, I have no choice but to clean up this mess.
Bruh can u believe I got hacked?!
Had to go nuclear and re-instal windows on mah PC just to be safe………..