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The difference between cynicism and pragmatic idealism

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“The boy’s idealism, is...” there was a pregnant pause in the advisor’s words, “foolish, but Impressive. I understand why you’d want him. He would be useful for more than just stabilizing Balbadd.” 

“You are correct in your assessment,” the Prince nodded. 

It was mere minutes after their brief, but intense conversation with Alibaba Saluja, former prince of Balbadd. To many, the boy is still a symbol of Balbadd sovereignty. 

“You knew.” there was a deliberate pause at the end of his statement, prompting for an explanation from his King. 

“His eyes,” Kouen stated, plainly. 

“Eyes, Brother?” Koumei is long used to his brother being Frugal with his words. 

“They remind me of Hakuyuu’s.” 

Koumei felt the corner of his eye twitch. There’s a wistfulness that hangs in the air upon the mentioning of their deceased cousin. But the comparison, overall, is illogical and absurd. 

“It’s not like you to say something so… romantic,” the advisor said carefully. The idealist in him see the meaning in his brother’s words, but the pragmatist he’s suppose to be is skeptical. 

Kouen glared. Koumei stared back impassively. It appears that Koumei has angered his king. It doesn’t matter, one can not be a good advisor if one fears the anger of his liege.

The elder prince sighed.  

“Have we grown cynical, Mei?”

War, slavery, necessary evil, a paradox.  

“It’s pragmatic idealism,” Koumei quickly corrected. He recognize the tired aching in his brother’s voice. He doesn’t want to hear that from his king, because tiredness is infectious. They’re not allowed to be tired, not yet, not before the world is united, not before they realize Hakutoku and Hakuyuu’s vision. 

“Slavery will be abolished from Balbadd once it is fully assimilated. We have already eliminated poverty. Soon, people will learn to think not for their own greed, but for the well being of their country. Our country, my brother and king.” 

Yet something about his own words rang empty. The destruction of a culture, assimilation, the loss of colours, betterment through fear, a paradox. 

The princes stared at one another, waiting for the other to break the silence.

“Sometimes, I wonder if they would agree with our method,” the Advisor admits. 

“It doesn’t matter,” answered the Emperor, a tired smile gracing his features. In a rare display of gentleness, the Emperor placed a hand on his brother’s shoulder. “I’m sorry for bringing us doubt."

“You can not blame yourself, my brother and king.” The pragmatic Advisor understood. 

After all, the dead can not make decisions for the living.