“We lost them… or did we?”
“It seems like it. I don’t feel any signs of mana approaching us anymore.”
Both Hermes and Katia double-checked if they shook off Chris and all of their pursuers.
Then, at long last, Katia sat on the ground while breathing heavily.
“A-Are you alright?”
“…I’m fine… Just… let me take a short breather…”
Users of Bloodline Magic were also considerably more physically capable than the average person.
Even so, running at full sprint until now must’ve been pretty tough for a 15-year-old girl.
Hermes did as he was told and kept an eye on the surroundings as he waited for Katia. Eventually, she let out a deep breath and stood back up.
Then, the two looked at each other face to face, finally able to take it easy and talk.
“…It’s… really you, right, Herm?”
Hermes regained his composure and stared at Katia head-on once again.
She had grown so beautifully that Hermes unconsciously thought that in his mind.
Her bluish-purple hair was ever radiant, despite the dirt and filth on it from the getaway moments before. She had shining eyes and a modest, yet well-defined nose ridge, as well as small, well-shaped lips.
Altogether, coupled with her delicate beauty and symmetric body shape, she was beautiful enough to be mistaken for a state-of-the-art doll.
It might be rude to compare her to someone like Rose, but Katia would make for a solid contender in looks against his master.
Kaita, who became a woman so beautiful that Hermes was momentarily captivated by her, took a deep breath.
The very first thing she did was scold Hermes as hard as she could.
“Don’t give me ‘huh’! I haven’t heard a word from you in five years! What have you been doing!? After that day, I went to the Flembreed household, but you were already banished! No matter who I asked, they just told me to screw off and said they didn’t know where you were! I didn’t have a single lead on your whereabouts!”
“…That’s because… I was cut off from everybody, and I didn’t have anywhere to go or anyone to turn to, so…”
Hermes told Katia it was impossible for him to find her in that situation in an attempt to pacify her, but—
“You ‘didn’t have anywhere to go or anyone to turn to’? Don’t screw with me.”
That must’ve pissed Katia off even more, as she closed the distance between them and brought her face close to his.
“You had me. Why didn’t you rely on me back then!?”
She said the words that she must’ve wanted to say the most all this time right to Hermes’ face.
“You could’ve asked the Trakia household for help. You would’ve had plenty of options if you did that! In the end, I didn’t have any idea of your whereabouts after you were banished. In fact, every time I talked to someone about you, they gave me an earful of the fate awaiting exiled noble children… I was so worried…!”
She got more and more emotional as she continued to scold Hermes.
“I got so scared when I thought of how you might’ve been dead… Do you know… how much I regret not doing this or that to help you!? I… I…!”
Then, as she was talking, she was seemingly unable to deal with her emotions any longer, and large teardrops spilled from her eyes.
As if to hide her expression, Katia buried her face into Hermes’ chest.
“…I’m glad… you’re alive… I was worried, you know…!”
“…Yes. I’m sorry for not telling you earlier.”
Even if we suppose he went back in time to the day he was exiled, he wouldn’t have been able to ask Katia for help like she said. He was too deep in the pits of despair, and it’s not like he had the respite to consider it. He didn’t want to pathetically cling to the girl that believed in him and cheered him on, either.
However, if she was this worried for his well-being—
I should’ve gotten in contact with her at least once somehow or the other. Feeling sorry for his negligence, Hermes placed his hand on Katia’s shoulder as she sobbed by his chest.
“You properly came to meet with me, so I’ll forgive you… Also, thank you… for saving me.”
Her quiet voice resounded as she blushed to her ears.
“…Anyways, where have you been and what have you been doing until now, Herm?”
Eventually, she calmed her emotions down.
She must’ve been embarrassed, as Katia turned her head away from Hermes and asked him a question, her cheeks completely red.
“You live in the royal capital, so you must have some sort of livelihood. Where do you live? How do you make a living?”
“Huh? Ah… About that…”
I see… It seems like she has the wrong idea and thinks I currently live in the capital.
To clear up her misunderstanding, Hermes gave a quick run-down of everything that’s happened so far and that he just arrived at the capital today.
After he finished, for some reason, she looked more surprised than Hermes thought she’d be.
“T-That means… you just came to the capital, and you don’t have anywhere to stay or anywhere to work?”
“That sounds about right.”
“Do you have any ideas of what to do or anything?”
“Well, I’ve thought of a few, but… I don’t really have any clear goals worth mentioning.”
After hearing his answer, Katia’s expression slowly changed from shock—to some sort of excitement.
“Ah, but you don’t need to worry. I’m quite confident in my magic, so I’m sure I’ll be able to find some sort of employm—”
She yelled out his name, so he reflexively responded just as loud.
Taking little notice of Hermes’ confusion, Katia gripped his shoulders and brought her face even closer to his than last time.
“Then come over to my home! I’ll hire you!”
Instead of embarrassment, her cheeks blushed with anticipation and excitement as she made an unexpected proposal.
In actuality, Katia’s proposal was the best Hermes could’ve asked for.
Hermes’ goal was to encounter all sorts of Bloodline Magics and sharpen his own magic.
Since his magic—The Inscription of Genesis, The Emerald Tablet—was a spell that recreated other magic, the benefits of observing different kinds of excellent magic were clearly immeasurable.
Establishing ties with some noble—if possible, a high-ranking noble—was the best thing to do to accomplish his goal.
However, Hermes declined at first.
He thought she was concerned for his vague future prospects and proposed that offer out of kindness, so he decided he couldn’t allow himself to indulge in her kindness like that.
When Hermes told Katia that he would somehow manage to live on his own—
“You’re naive, Herm. The capital is a scary place. A simple-looking kid like you would immediately get captured by some bad people and get exploited, you know. Besides, there are still lots of people who remember you from when you were famous in your childhood. There’s no guarantee that some imprudent noble won’t berate you. I’m not just saying this out of pity; your magic from earlier was splendid. It’s not like I’m doing this all out of kindness, either. You’re a very skilled magician, so I want to grab you while you’re still on the market. That’s why you don’t have to be so modest.”
And so on. Everything she said more or less made sense, but for some reason, she spoke rapid-fire and kept talking on and on.
Then, in the end—
“I finally got to reunite with my childhood friend… Is it so wrong for me to want to talk with you more?”
After hearing her quietly say those words with her eyes averted, Hermes decided to go along with her.
Thus, they briefly embarked on a bumpy carriage ride that happened to be nearby.
They arrived at Katia’s home—the Trakia household—located in the center of the royal capital.
Hermes visited this place a few times in his childhood, but when he got a better look at it…
…This place is huge.
Being that Hermes’ home—the Flembreed household—was a prestigious family, they had quite the spacious plot of land, but a duke household was just on a different level.
Moreover, the Flembreed household’s land was just empty and pointlessly large; the Trakia household attentively trimmed and groomed every corner of their land, and it gave off a sort of… elegance.
While Hermes thought about this and that as he looked at the Trakia household, the gate abruptly flew open, and people rushed out from the other side.
A woman dressed in maid clothing that looked to be around in her twenties rushed at us and called out the name of the girl beside me.
“Where have you been!? I was worried since you were taking a while to come back, and-… Wait, your clothing is all dirty! What on earth happened! No, before that, your injuries-… Hold on, who is this boy beside you!?”
“…Leila, it’s hard to answer if you ask me all those questions at once. I’ll answer one by one, so calm down first.”
It seemed like this woman was Katia’s servant, and her name was Leila.
Leila was busy putting her hands on Katia’s body in concern, getting shocked at her appearance, and getting even more shocked when she saw Hermes, but Katia briefly grabbed her with both hands and stopped her.
“I’m sorry for coming back late, I got mixed up in a bit of trouble. That’s also why my clothes are all dirty, and I don’t have any serious injuries. Also, this is Hermes; the same Hermes formerly from the Flembreed household. You met him several times in the past, Leila.”
Hermes dug through his memories, wondering if that was true.
…That’s right, I remember there was a maid that came to pick Katia up when she came over to play with me. So it’s this lady.
“Aah, you played with Miss Katia quite a lot!”
Leila seemed to have remembered at the same time, and she clapped her hands together.
“Sir Hermes, by the way, um… I heard you were banished from the Flembreed household for being inept… So you were alive, huh.”
Hermes’ body stiffened in response to her muttering.
A short while ago, Katia said that there were nobles who would berate him. In addition, Chris had also verbally abused him.
Hermes braced himself, thinking he would be cruelly told off just like last time.
“…What a relief…!”
Completely different from what he expected, Leila’s face lit up with sincere relief.
“I can’t believe they would banish a family member, let alone such a small child, just because of a lack of Bloodline Magic… I was extremely worried for you at the time… I’m delighted to know you’re alive.”
Hermes could tell from the smile on her face that she meant exactly what she said.
“Don’t worry, Herm.”
Katia then gently smiled and called out to him.
“Everyone in my family, including the servants, is different from the Flembreed household. They won’t look down on you because of something that happened in the past… Welcome to the Trakia household.”
I’m glad I listened to what she said.
At long last, Hermes thought that from the bottom of his heart.
Today’s chap. Bit of a late release, this chap kinda tripped me up with the grammar etc., so it took longer than I hoped. Tmrw is 2 chaps of magic arrow, see you guys then.