"I am not what I am"
However, I saw no signs of life or hope in this beautiful morning. No matter how radiantly the sun shined today, it still appeared gloomy to me.
Today marks the first anniversary of my father's death.
A year ago on this day, my father died quietly on his bed as the poison in his body finally conquered him. The very same day Sabin ran away for his own freedom, swearing never to turn back. The very same day I became the King of Figaro.
It was the darkest day of my life.
I left the castle early today to visit his grave. The Chancellor and the other lords of the Castle wanted to come with me, but I told them not to. I wanted to be left alone.
As I stood in front of his grave, I thought back about the events that have occurred during the past year, of all the decisions I made as a king. I wondered if he'd approve the decisions I have made for the past year.
Especially the decision to side with the Emperor. The evil that brought my father to his ultimate end.
Even though there were no evidence, I knew the Emperor has issued the order for my father to be poisoned to death. All because my father refused to sign the alliance treaty between Figaro and Vector, and openly declared his disapproval of the Emperor's actions. Poisoning him was the Emperor's cowardly way to get rid of him.
I hate the Empire. I despise them all. Which led me to question myself why did I sign that damn alliance treaty. Was it because I was a coward, and I didn't want to suffer a similar end like my father? Maybe. But I wasn't only thinking for myself. I was thinking for Figaro as well. My father is gone, and Figaro is now my responsibility. If I died, Figaro would be in chaos without a leader. I need to stay alive. Aligning with the Empire will ensure my safety, and also Figaro's, for the time being.
I remember the day when I went to Vector to sign the Figaro-Vector treaty. Seeing the Emperor and his wicked smile just sickened me. When I saw the treaty, I wanted to tear it up in front of his face. But I forced myself sign the paper. I would smile upon the devil just to live for my revenge.
After the papers were signed, the Emperor shook hands with me. He gave me a sincere-looking smile with a few kind words, but I saw through it all. There was no sincerity in him. He is a two-faced bastard.
Well, two can play that game.
Let him believe that I am an idiotic king. Let him believe that I fear him enough to sign the treaty and not go against his words. When I find his weakness, I will strike back.
To defeat the Empire, I became two-faced myself.
It was easy. I was only 17 when I signed the treaty. From my appearance, one would assume that I am an inexperienced king, with no clear idea of what to do. But I am very sure of my objectives - defeat the Empire for the peace of Figaro, and to avenge my father's death.
So far, the Emperor seemed to have fallen for this mask I have placed on myself. The Emperor wanted a loyal puppet, so I acted as one. I supported him openly in public and made many economic deals with him. On the surface, I am his loyal little puppet.
Under the mask, however, is a different story. There were many secret plans behind closed doors. Only the people that my father and I learned to trust knew the true story. The Chancellor, for one, and a few other lords knew my secret activities, and that I have sided with the secret resistant group - the Returners.
I am not an obedient puppet - I am a free-willed rebel. My father taught me to fight for what I believed in, and I believe that evil should be punished and destroyed. That was what made me decided to join the Returners.
I sent a trusted messenger to find the Returners for me shortly after my father died. I did not know much about them at first; all I knew was that they are a rebel group, and that their leader's name is Banon. But knowing that they were against the Empire was good enough for me. My messenger managed to get a hold of them, and after a secret meeting with Banon himself I have agreed to join them. We spent much time plotting against the Empire.
Until we have a concrete plan, I will continue to wear the mask. It is the only way I can work more freely. I will continue to embrace the Empire. This is all a game of intelligence, and I will play carefully.
However, every time I think about the death of my father, I feel disgusted at myself. How can I be so friendly to the murderer of my father? I wanted to tear this mask off, to show my true face. But I know I have to keep the other face to survive.
Perhaps everyone needs a second face to survive in this dishonest world. We need our own lies, our own deceptions, to counter the lies of the others. An honest man would not be able to survive in a world of frauds.
Maybe that was why my father suffered such a tragic end. He was one-faced. He was completely truthful to everyone around him. His honesty caused the Emperor to hate him, and made the Emperor decide to kill him.
Sometimes I wondered to myself, is being a virtuous a crime? Did my father deserve such an end for being an honest man? No. He was a great person, a great king, and a great father. I respected him and loved him more than anything else in the world, and I'm sure Figarians would hail him as the greatest king of Figaro. Life is not fair. He did not deserve an end like this. That is why I wanted to compensate for his unfair death by making his dream comes true: to build the perfect kingdom filled with prosperity and peace.
The desire to make this dream comes true made me accept my role as a king more willingly. When I was young, the thought of being a king did not appealed to me at all - it meant losing freedom and committing myself to a lifetime full of work. But my father changed my view. He was a caring man, always putting others before himself. He taught me the value of helping others, that being a king meant much more than tedious work. I respected and loved him for his noble and caring nature, and I would do anything for him. That is why I am so determined to succeed, taking on difficult challenges that a normal 18-years-old would not take. Everything I do is solely for him. Figaro is not really my kingdom; I'm just running it for my father.
That is also why I have always refused to wear the crown. No matter how hard the Chancellor pressed me to wear it for formality, I still declined. The crown was my father's, and it always will be. I have no rights to wear it.
I wished my father were still here, then I wouldn't be left alone to face the devil. But he's gone forever, and I have to finish the work he started, running the realm that he has left for me.
Father, I will do my best to make you proud.
The Two Faces of Janus © 2000 by Lilith Morrigan aka Midnite Angel Aeris