Yuki Ki became the emperor when he defeated his brothers for the battle for the throne and when he ascended the throne he eliminated all the Officials and soldiers against him. As a result, he decided to start the Imperial Exams as his father did before him. Before only examinees who wanted to be Officials took the Imperial Exams, but Yuki decided that the examinees wanting to become soldiers should take it too. His new rule required that exams be changed.
Yuki, sixteen at the time, looked over the old questions of the original Imperial Exams with his friend Shigure sitting across from him doing the same. Yuki frowned and muttered, “These questions are too easy.”
Shigure nodded in agreement and added, “Well your father, may he rest in peace, wanted to have lots of Officials, so he couldn’t have too many of them failing.” Yuki stood up from his chair and stated, “Well I need my new Officials to be intelligent, so these questions need to be changed for the good of the country.”
Yuki went to a shelf pulling out a number of parchments all related to the Provinces and the history of Yulan. Shigure rolled his eyes placing his elbow against the table.
“You really need to wind down, YOUR MAJESTY,” stated Shigure with a smile. Yuki frowned sitting back at the table.
“You can call me ‘your majesty,’ but please at least add my name when we are alone,” stated Yuki. Shigure chuckled standing up from the table.
“I’ll try, but no promises, your majesty.”
Yuki groaned as he opened up a parchment. Yuki read the parchment silently, but stopped when he heard Shigure say, “I’m going to get us some food.” Yuki nodded and continued to read as Shigure left the room.
Yuki remained in the room filled with silence and as he read, his eyes began to droop. Yuki closed his eyes once and when he opened them he was shocked to see his first older brother sitting across from him with crossed arms.
“Why are you here?” demanded Yuki as he shot up from his chair.
“Why wouldn’t I be here? I was supposed to take the throne after all.”
Yuki shook his head and stated, “I won the war so the throne is mine.”
Yuki felt a chill behind him and glanced back only to see his second older brother leaning against a bookshelf.
“You wouldn’t have won without those leaders, dear little brother,” stated Yuki’s second older brother with a sneer.
“I still won,” stated Yuki. Yuki heard his first older brother rise from his chair making him look at him.
“If you truly won then you would have killed us, but instead you banished us to a country far away,” stated Yuki’s first older brother.
“A true emperor would have eliminated the competition completely,” added his second older brother. Yuki shook his head.
“I did nothing wrong in banishing you. I am not a monster who would kill his own flesh and blood.”
Yuki’s first older brother smirked and asked, “So it was OK to kill HER?” Yuki flinched and then clenched his head as he shut his eyes yelling, “Just go away!”
Yuki’s eyes flung open with his head against the table and Shigure looking down at him. Yuki lifted his head and placed a hand to his forehead as he looked around. He saw no sign of his brothers making him sigh in relief.
“Only a dream,” muttered Yuki.
“Are you OK Yuki?” asked Shigure. Yuki nodded and smiled at Shigure saying, “Thanks for saying my name.” Shigure nodded placing a plate of pork buns in front of Yuki.
“Eat something before continuing your work,” insisted Shigure. Yuki nodded and took one of the pork buns from the plate. Before he took a bite, he looked at Shigure and asked, “Do you think I deserve the throne?”
“What kind of question is that?” asked Shigure.
“You definitely deserve the throne. While your brothers were fighting among themselves, you were actually making plans and found a way to get the region leaders to lend assistance. Even now, you are trying to improve the Imperial Exams to get more intelligent Officials and soldiers. You also showed mercy to your brothers by banishing them, which makes you a kind emperor. I can also say that if one of your brothers became emperor Yulan would go to ruin.”
Yuki smiled and felt tears escape from his eyes making Shigure gasp.
“Why are you crying?” asked Shigure in a panic. Yuki wiped his tears with a chuckle.
“I’m just relieved,” stated Yuki. Shigure chuckled and said, “Be relieved and eat.” Yuki nodded taking a bite from his pork bun.
Yuki chewed on his pork bun happily until he heard Shigure say, “So when are you going to get a queen and make a little heir?”
“I’m not going to worry about that yet and I don’t have anyone I am interested in.”
“Not even in the harem?”
“You really need a queen.”
“My queen will be someone I truly love and someone I am willing to die for.”
Shigure smiled and stated, “When she appears, I will support her.” Yuki nodded thanking Shigure as he ate his pork bun.
Yuki hated his dream of seeing his brothers, but Shigure made it clear to him that he made the right choices in taking the throne. He might regret someday that he spared his brothers, but for now, he will continue to rule Yulan until it becomes a country that can never be forgotten.