The day Father scolded Hermes, his behavior took a sudden change.
“It feels disgusting just leaving a good-for-nothing let down like you in the main residence!”
Zenos grabbed Hermes by the scruff of his neck and threw him into a cellar located in the garden, which was far removed from the main residence.
It was a dimly lit room, with the only thing passable as a “light source” being a small candle.
Father looked down on Hermes with cold eyes behind the thick iron bars as he lay collapsed on the dirty floor.
That’s right—this was a solitary confinement cell.
The very place that prisoners would be left in was now Hermes’ new residence.
“Hmph. I feel nauseous just thinking about how I lived in the same house and breathed the same air with a bastard like you up until now.”
Ever since Father announced his judgment, Hermes felt as though this all wasn’t reality.
However, after finally recovering from the shock of being thrown into the solitary cell by Father’s hand, Hermes began correctly assessing his situation.
Am I gonna spend the rest of my life in a place like this?
Harboring an intense feeling of rejection to what was happening, Hermes pleaded to Father with a grief-stricken voice as he imagined the future to come.
“I’ll try even harder! I’ll double the amount of magic training I’ve been doing so far, and I’ll obey everything you tell me! I’ll become the magnificent magician just as Father wishes without fail, so please—”
“SHUT THE HELL UP, YOU DEFECTIVE PIECE OF SHIT!!”
However, his wishes were brushed aside with a single displeased rebuke.
“‘A magnificent magician’, you say? Tell me how you’re going to do that without Bloodline Magic.”
“Listen well. Bloodline Magic is a splendid gift of natural talent bestowed by the Star Gods. To not receive such a gift means that you’ve already been abandoned by the Star Gods. It’s preposterous that you are inapt despite inheriting the blue blood. You are no child prodigy—rather, consider this to mean you’re the same as a devil!”
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the social status of a majority of this country’s people—especially nobility—was decided by the skill of their magic. The stories of people born as low-ranking nobility rising to power by merit of immense magical power were too numerous to count.
…On the contrary, there were just as many people who fell from grace due to not being blessed in magic as well.
“For fucks sake, the only thing you have going for you is your mana. See how it feels to be in the same position as me after you made me rejoice in the futile promise you held!”
Father, who had been kind until yesterday, completely changed. He angrily spoke with a voice mingled with hatred, which Hermes hadn’t heard once since he was born.
Hermes’ heart gradually yielded itself to a dark despair as his mind was put through the wringer by today’s events.
“Be grateful that I provide you with food and a bed. Cowering away in that cell for the rest of your life like you are now suits a bastard like you!”
He left without even sparing an ear to Hermes’ last words.
The gate to the iron bars was slammed shut, making an excessively loud crashing noise.
Father seemed like he would leave after that, but he suddenly turned around.
“Aah, that’s right… On the off-chance that you show signs of manifesting Bloodline Magic, it’d be fine for me to release you from there, you know?”
After muttering, “Well, I doubt that’ll happen” in the end, the sound of his footsteps faded away into the distance.
From that day on, Hermes’ life took a complete 180.
First, the food. Every morning and evening, he only had soup simmered with hard, molded bread and vegetable scraps.
Judging from what he ate at the Flembreed residence, the food wouldn’t end up like this, even if they were made from leftovers. They went through all this trouble just to exhaust him; He was treated completely identically to a prisoner.
Then, the bed. All it consisted of was a singular, thin blanket spread across the uneven, hard floor. For Hermes, who had been used to his top-class bed, this was equivalent to torture. It took him months just to become able to fall asleep.
Practically nobody visited his solitary cell. Even if there were visitors, a majority of them hardly came with good intentions.
For example, Father Zenos was a frequent visitor.
“AAH, HOW VEXING! I WAS RIDICULED AT THE EVENING PARTY TODAY AS WELL! I’M SO ASHAMED EVERY SINGLE TIME! THIS, THAT, EVERYTHING—IS ALL YOUR FAULT!”
It seemed like Father had been going around and boasting of Hermes’ talent to everybody quite a bit. Ever since rumors had spread that Hermes was inapt, he ended up becoming the target of sarcasm.
“Your Highness Astor, who’s the same age as you, awakened a Bloodline Magic fitting of the royal family. He’s showing glimpses of becoming the supreme ruler of the next era in both name and reality. What are you compared to that! You were supposed to be standing beside him, and you were supposed to take back the Flembreed household’s prosperity! HEY, ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME, YOU GOOD-FOR-NOTHING!?!?”
Zenos vented his frustration onto Hermes by mocking him, finding slight satisfaction in doing so. He then left without saying a word thereafter. That was the only interaction as father and son they had since that day.
The second most frequent was Chris, Hermes’ older brother who was five years older.
“What’s up, my dear Hermes! Today as well, your big brother will do his pitiful little brother a favor by giving him a lesson in magic!”
He spoke with a forced, ironically sorrowful tone of voice. It was clear from a glance at his lips, which were warped into a scornful smile by his superiority complex, that what he intended to do didn’t match with what he said.
“What’s the matter, Hermes? This is your once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the Bloodline Magic which you so coveted up close! C’mon, WAKE UP!”
Chris von Flembreed.
He was a young boy who possessed sufficient talent in magic as the heir to a marquis, and he was originally supposed to inherit the Flembreed household as the first-born.
—And then, because of Hermes’ existence, that future of his was completely stolen from him.
Until Hermes turned 7 after being born, Father Zenos wouldn’t spare so much as a glance to Chris.
The discontent, feelings of inferiority, and hatred for his younger brother that piled and piled during that time frame all gushed out the moment he was to be the inheritor again and Hermes was deemed inapt.
“Now then, now then, I’ll show you. This is the power of one chosen by God, unlike you!”
Unlike Hermes, Chris properly inherited the magic handed down by the Flembreed household.
He loudly sang the activation chant to invoke it, followed by a declaration of the magic’s name.
“Six are holy bows; one is a magic bullet; Let this be the trigger to the arm of a false god! Bloodline Magic: The Archer of Magic Bullets, Mistle Tina!”
In an instant, a cluster of light bullets materialized behind his back, blindingly bright enough to illuminate the entire underground solitary cell. One could surmise the sheer amount of energy packed into those bullets by the amount of light.
Then, without hesitation, Chris took those light bullets—
“THIS IS HOW YOU USE MY MAGIC!!”
—and aimed them at Hermes, firing them.
“Savor my great magic well with that body of yours! If you do, maybe the shock might just awaken Bloodline Magic for you? That’s why you can’t dodge! Make sure it hits you!”
Slipping past the crevices of the iron bars, Hermes was struck by every single one of them, just as Chris declared. Hermes was easily blown away and was slammed against the wall.
However, he didn’t die. He didn’t faint, either. That’s because Chris purposefully held back to make Hermes suffer.
“How pathetic you are, Hermes. But this is what you deserve, you know. You got carried away and disregarded me, despite not being chosen. All I’m doing is carrying your punishment out in God’s steed. Don’t you think so too?”
Hermes had a thought in his half-conscious state of mind.
…That might just be true.
Leaving aside the fact he got carried away and so on, Hermes indeed made light of his older brother.
He knew that his older brother was being ignored in the house. However, Hermes was more concerned about the joy that Father’s praise brought him, and above all, he enjoyed using magic more than anything else, ending up completely absorbed in it.
That’s why if his older brother resented him for that and did this as a punishment, then the way he was currently treating Hermes might just make sense to him.
He tried to tell that to Chris, but…
Hermes no longer had the energy to move his mouth.
Chris gave the battered Hermes a single bored-looking glance and sighed.
“…Hmph, well, who cares. Stay in this cell and watch me. In place of you, I—a chosen one—shall become the head of the Flembreed household, then I’ll become the magnificent magician that you wanted to be! AHAHAHAHAHAHA!”
Just like that, Chris showed Hermes his magic and tormented him to vent the anger he’s felt until now, then left.
Not one person from the household stopped Chris’ outrage. As long as Father Zenos tolerated it—or even endorsed it—no one had the right to stop him.
Living a life worlds apart from before—a life even more miserable than those at the bottom rungs of society—Hermes’ spirit was chipped away bit by bit.
Finally done. Im tired so im just gonna sleep, gn and see you guys tomorrow. Reminder tomorrow is sat so only one chap of magic arrow.