Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou Volume 08

Prologue

In this empire, the emperor had no power.

The emperor merely prayed for the imperial citizens while living in a splendid palace built within a forest in the center of the imperial capital.

Even so, the historical emperors had been loved by the people and the current empress, Kazuko, was especially adored. She maintained the beautiful appearance of an innocent young girl using special treatments and yet she had perfected her elegant behavior. She always smiled and wisdom could be felt in her every word.

Even if Kazuko had no political authority, she still held some sway. The imperial citizens would act if she spoke. For that reason, she was limited to speaking harmless things in public and her private life was carefully removed from the public eye.

As a result, Kazuko had several secrets. Some of them were trivial and others were quite major, but the largest of them was not even known by the generations of high priests that had come and gone. The only ones who currently knew this secret were the highest ranking members of the
imperial guards and a single girl.

The secret was that Kazuko had a twin sister. This twin was of course the girl who knew the secret.

The imperial family had a number of strange traditions. One of those dealt with the birth of twins. The right of succession was taken from the twin born first and she was instead raised in secret as a body double for her younger twin. Those serving the emperor had faithfully obeyed this custom and
Kazuko's sister had been raised in a hidden part of the palace.

She was not given a name because she was to be a second Kazuko.
"If I'm Kazuko, then who is she?"

While hugging the doll she had been given as a toy, the girl had looked into a bright room of the palace. She had seen a girl who looked exactly like her. This other girl had been sitting before a toy-like desk and learning how to read and write from a teacher.

"She too is Kazuko-sama," was the reply the artificial human known as a L'Isle-Adam had given her.

"Why can't I talk to her?"
"Because that is the rule."

"Why can't I learn like she does?"

"You will soon learn the same things. However, that can be easily accomplished with a machine, so you do not need to work at it."

"Oh. So I have it easy. It must be tough being her."

The girl had smiled then, but she came to understand many different things as she grew up. She eventually realized just how unnatural a situation she was in.


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