…But it’s not like it was all doom and gloom.
Servants that were sympathetic to Hermes secretly added meat to his soup, slipped things into his cell without the guards noticing, and so on.
And more than anything… She came on a regular basis.
“…Are you ok, Herm?”
A young girl around the same age as Hermes suddenly appeared from the darkness.
She had vivid, bluish purple hair that looked like it encapsulated the night sky, as well as charming, round facial features that showed the strength of her heart. The same refined girl whose beauty was unfitting to this place rushed over to the dirty solitary cell without hesitation and grabbed Hermes’ hand.
“You have more wounds again. Uncle Zenos and Chris must’ve hurt you… I’m sorry. I want to heal you, but my magic isn’t equipped for that…”
“No, just your sentiment alone makes me happy, Katty.”
Her name was Katia von Trakia. She was the first-born daughter of the duke household Trakia, which was more prestigious than the Flembreed household. In other words, she was a duchess.
Similar to Hermes, she was a genius in magic who had great expectations placed on her future. They were intimate childhood friends from early on in their lives because of their similarities.
…Then, unlike Hermes, she blossomed a Bloodline Magic worthy of her duke household.
However, unlike everyone else, she treated Hermes the same even after learning he was inapt. Even now, she was the only person who came to see Hermes without ill-intent.
“Uncle and Chris are horrible. No matter how much they say magic is important, they can’t just treat their own family so terribly…”
“…That might be so. But—”
Her voice was filled with heartfelt resentment, but the current Hermes, who was mentally driven to the corner, was unable to honestly sympathize with her feelings.
“…I’m a good-for-nothing. Just as Father said, I need to think that him even giving me food is more than enough. No matter what they do to me, I can’t compla—!?”
However, Katia forcefully interrupted Hermes’ self-deprecating dialogue by clasping his cheeks with both hands.
“Herm. I believe in you.”
“You were blessed with all this mana, and you’ve always worked so hard. You love magic more than anyone, and you praised me for my magic. I’m absolutely certain that your lack of Bloodline Magic is some sort of mistake.”
Reflecting the light of the candle, her amethyst pupils glittered beautifully amidst the dim light.
“That’s why I believe—that you aren’t someone who should be in a place like this. I believe that one day, you’ll surely become an amazing magician and stand in front of me once more.”
As if affected by what she said and the glitter in her pupils, a dim light returned to Hermes’ pupils as well.
“Yeah, you’re right.”
He slowly grabbed her hands back and announced to her.
“Father said that if I manifest Bloodline Magic, he’ll release me from here. I can’t be giving up.”
“Yeah, that’s the spirit.”
“Looks like I’ve been a little weak-minded. I’ll try my best again… Thank you, Katty.”
Hermes gave his thanks with a care-free smile that he hasn’t made in months.
In response, she was momentarily taken-aback, then turned her face away soon after with a pout.
“A-As long as you get it. I find it intolerable that someone I hold in high regard is rotting away in a place like this. That’s right—”
She was about to say something else in a somewhat rapid way of speaking, but the sound of someone descending the stairs resounded in both of their ears.
“This is bad, I’m gonna get caught. I need to go already!”
It seems like she came here in secret.
“Alright! Make sure you get out of here and meet me again! This is an absolute promise!”
…I think you’ll get caught in the end if you yell so loudly.
Hermes reservedly waved his hand as he gave a wry smile to her slightly tomboyish behavior.
And so, although Hermes’ life was as miserable as usual—
Katia continued to support him, and he faintly hoped that he’d be able to escape if he just acquired Bloodline Magic.
Using those two things as emotional support, Hermes continued to search for his own magic in his solitary cell.
Despite the cruel treatment he received, his heart never gave in deep down, and he desperately did what he could in his decrepit circumstances.
He put up with the unreasonable, believed that he’d be rewarded for his efforts, and continued to endeavor.
Then, fast forward to when Hermes was 10 years old.
—All of his hopes and dreams were destroyed in the worst way possible.
“…Herm, is this a good time?”
It all started with Katia’s visit.
These past 3 years, she was the sole person Hermes looked forward to seeing, so he rushed to the iron bars with a smile.
He then realized—that she wore a facial expression sadder than anything he’s ever seen up until now.
An unpleasant premonition rapidly occupied his mind. Before he could shake that feeling off, she spoke the brief words that would settle things in stone.
“I can’t come here anymore.”
His mind went blank. It was close to miraculous that he was able to form a question.
“The Second Prince, His Highness Astor. Do you know of him?”
The next thing Katia spoke of was a person’s name.
Naturally, he knew. Father Zenos came every now and then and talked about him.
He was the prince of this country. He was the same age as us, and he’s said to be beautiful and wise. Rivaling the first prince, he’s a major contender to be the king of the next era and was endowed with a Bloodline Magic proclaimed to be the current strongest in the world.
Both Hermes and Katia were members of prestigious noble families. He easily anticipated what she would say next.
“…Don’t tell me.”
“That’s right. There’ve been talks about marriage—with me and His Highness Astor.”
This wasn’t all that strange. As the marriage partner to the prince, a Trakia dutchess was far from just adequate—you could even say she was the most worthy marriage partner. In addition, Katia was excellent in both magic and physical appearance, so it was only natural that she’d be called upon.
“…Are you going to… accept that offer?”
“I will. This duty entails that I’d be supporting His Highness Astor, this country’s greatest treasure, in both private and public. There is no greater honor as a duchess; I have zero reason to refuse.”
Hermes was thrown into confusion, unable to read Katia’s expression as she indifferently spoke.
“From now on, I’ll be living in the royal palace, receiving my education to be a queen while working with His Highness. That’s why…”
She could no longer come here.
That wasn’t all. The same girl that always cheered on Hermes after he ended up like this. The same girl that fastened together his heart, which was on the sure path to breaking apart. The same girl who Hermes had unpayable debts of gratitude and emotions—
Hermes couldn’t describe it well, but that very same girl would end up going far, far away.
Katia must’ve seen the look of despair on his face, as she tried to add to what she said in a panic.
“In a year—No, in half a year, I’ll make time to come somehow or the other! Then, we’ll somehow meet aga—”
“Unfortunately, that’s impossible.”
However, at that moment, a voice came from the side.
The two stared at Chris von Flembreed, Hermes’ older brother, after he showed up.
“What do you mean by that, Chris?”
“Lady Katia. It’s been decided that at the same time of your marriage, we of the Flembreed household shall also be joining His Highness Astor.”
His voice oozing with an unconcealable delight, he spoke even louder.
“And now, it’s been decided that I shall be appointed as His Highness’ guard and right-hand man! Aah, His Highness is truly wise. He even possesses the keen eyes to properly discover such smoldering talent. Now this is the caliber of a king—”
“I don’t care about that! I’m asking why it’ll be impossible for me to meet with Hermes again!”
Katia was in the right to stop him, but Chris’ lips contorted in apparent displeasure after his monologue was interrupted.
However, that too lasted only a moment, and he directed an evil smile which reflected his inner thoughts at Hermes soon after.
“When it was decided the Flembreed household would join His Highness Astor’s faction, His Highness spoke like so:
“I need not of incompetents as my subordinates. Those who are inapt are out of the question; Dispose of him with utmost haste, is what he said!”
Katia swallowed her breath.
Hermes also clearly understood what that entailed, and his face went pale.
“You probably know what this means, don’t you, Hermes? I feel so refreshed knowing that I finally don’t need to breathe the same air as a failure like you anymore!”
Chris gave Hermes a sidelong glance, his expression steeped with contempt and scorn. He then raised his hand in the end.
“Now then, Father calls for you. You all take Hermes and go!”
At the same time, muscular knights came from left and right and dragged Hermes away as if he were truly a criminal.
“Wait! This is strange!”
Katia yelled and attempted to approach them, but she was stopped by the knights.
“Whatever the circumstances may be, this is overkill! You’d usually wait until he turns 15! Just wait Herm, if I negotiate with His Highness—!”
“That won’t do, Lady Katia. From now on, you shall be devoting yourself to His Highness. Why do you fuss over such a worthless man?”
He heard the sounds of Chris and Katia arguing from far, far away.
Just like that, Hermes was dragged in a total trance to the office where Father was, then predictably received the verdict of disownment there.
All of the hard work he’s done over the past 10 years ended in vain. He was banished from his household and was thrown out into the fields as merely Hermes.
Todays second chapter. This one was super late, this was waay longer than i thought itd be. Ill add the buttons tomorrow, see you guys then.