Being HerselfSanaki was unable to believe that anyone would accept her as herself without being the true apostle. The acceptance of her people was important, but even more so was what her two loyal friends would think of her if she was no longer the apostle. She eventually gets to the point where she can no longer take wondering and asks to speak with both Sigrun and Tanith together. They have always been there for her. They've protected her, carried out her will and have just been the best loyal companions she could ask for. After expressing her concerns to the both of them, she wants them to honestly tell her how they would feel if she was not the apostle. Expecting them to say they would not longer want to serve her, she is quite surprised when Sigrun says it would change nothing. They don't serve the office of the apostle. They didn't decide to follow her because they thought she could hear Ashera's voice. Even though she was only five when she was appointed, she had been working from a very young age to fight the Senate on behalf of the people. The people of Begnion may have accepted her without question originally, but that didn't mean she did nothing afterwards to make the people love her. She fought on their behalf. She always took them as first priority and importance. Sanaki would always be the one true Empress of Begnion to them and they never want her to forget that. Their loyalty is with her, not the apostle. Saying Sanaki felt loved after that is probably an understatement. She believes that she is truly blessed; not by the goddess, but by having two loyal friends like them at her side.
Thanks to Sigrun and Tanith's words, Sanaki gained a new self-confidence. She realized that people were loyal to and respected her, not just her title. Her newfound confidence is easily seen in her final confrontation with Lekain in Ashera's tower. Before she was unable to find words to speak to him, but now, she demands him to stop his foolishness. He continues to speak down at her like she is worthless. This time, however, he cannot get under her skin. Sanaki wasn't the apostle, no, but she was still the true empress of Begnion. She still loved her people and her country and would not give it up under any circumstance. She would save the people and would gladly defeat him in order to do so. Sanaki boldly states, "Lekain, Duke of Gaddos! Before the 37th empress of Begnion... Prepare to be judged!" I loved this quote because it is just ringing with certainty and confidence. She would show him that she still bring judgment upon him without hearing the goddess' voice. Sanaki knows her true purpose in life. She is no longer hindered by tradition and only walks forward knowing she is the one to save and protect her country.
Sanaki is not completely free of guilt yet, though, as she still has not spoken with the person she trusted more than anyone in the entire world. When she comes face to face with Sephiran in the tower, she is obviously very happy to see him. She immediately tells him that she isn't the true apostle and apologizes for abusing his trust. Sephiran is not phased, however, as he already knew. He was like a father to her and Sanaki not being the apostle had no effect on his feelings for her. Sanaki is finally truly relieved, but it is short lasting. She soon finds out that Sephiran was the mastermind behind all the wars. Even after hearing the words "I had to betray you" come from his own mouth, she won't believe it. Sanaki thinks the entire thing is a monstrous joke--a bad dream. Ike and company turn their swords against Sephiran, but Sanaki will not fight him. Even from when she was five years old, Sephiran was the only one who made her smile. She would cry and throw tantrums unless he came and held her. How could he possibly be the one they had to kill in order to meet Ashera? She couldn't fight him. Sanaki and Sephiran literally will not fight each other if you try to make them. Unfortunately, the party must move forward in order to save the world and they kill him. Sanaki kneels beside him and pleads for him to hold onto life. She knew there was no other way, but she didn't want to accept it. She couldn't accept it. Sephiran gives her the Rudol Gem, which he says will protect her and remind her of him. He apologizes for lying to her and hopes that she will forgive him. Sanaki had already forgiven him from the moment betrayal came from his mouth, though. Sephiran was basically her father. He could do no real wrong in her eyes because he was always the one she looked up to and had for support. I would imagine that it was difficult not having the senate at her side, but Sephiran made everything okay. There was no way anyone could take away the memories they formed and time they shared together. Sanaki may have had to lose him at that moment, but the effect he had on her life would never disappear. He would always be in her heart serving as inspiration to continue pursuing her values and goals.