While Hermes gave Astor a death stare, Astor lashed out at Hermes.
Just as Astor was about to rattle on about something or the other, he raised his well-shaped eyebrows in suspicion. “…? That face… that hair, and the color of those eyes… Could it be…?” he muttered quizzically. He approached Hermes and stopped in front of him, then asked, “You. What’s your name?”
“…Hermes. What of it?”
“Hermes…? Wait! I find it hard to believe myself, but are you Hermes, the ex-Flembreed household member?!”
Dear me, thought Hermes. This is quite a surprise.
While it’s true that Astor was the final decider in Hermes’ banishment, they’ve never once met face-to-face until now.
Hermes had assumed that Astor thought of him as a nobody who wasn’t even worth the effort of looking at. To Astor, Hermes was nothing more than a piece of garbage that he casually cleaned off the soles of his shoes.
Contrary to Hermes’ expectations, Astor remembered who he was.
“…Pfft…” Astor chuckled. “AHA, AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” For whatever reason, he burst out laughing. “This is a riot! Miss Defective picked up another piece of defective junk! Now I get why you look at me with such hate in your eyes!”
“Alas, this simply further proves my point.” He then turned his back to Hermes and faced the nobles, who had been watching everything go down. “Nobles! Despite being born in the once-prestigious Flembreed household, this silver-haired man named Hermes never inherited any Bloodline Magic! He is a good-for-nothing, I say!”
“Hermes?! I’ve heard that name before. Despite being called a wonder child and possessing an extraordinary amount of mana, he was inept…!”
“So he’s become a servant… I suppose that only makes sense, considering a piece of trash who doesn’t have Bloodline Magic couldn’t possibly be a noble.”
There seemed to be quite a few nobles who remembered Hermes, and they immediately began making a fuss over it.
“It’s nothing short of preposterous that Miss Defective over here learned how to properly use her Bloodline Magic in no time at all! In other words, these scoundrels are involved in some sort of unholy ritual!“
“Here we have Hermes, who was previously banished from his household by my decision, as well as Katia, with whom I broke off my engagement! Festering resentment most hideous for my impartial judgment, they colluded with each other, going as far as to sell their very souls to the Devil to obtain power! There’s no denying it!” Once again, Astor twisted reality to how he saw fit and tried smearing Hermes and Katia’s reputation. “Surely you weren’t the ones responsible for the monster attack just moments ago, right? By crushing a monster before the eyes of the public, you attempted to boost your reputation to even greater heights!”
“!? That was your doing, Your Highness! How could you have reacted so quickly otherwi—”
“Hah! Why would I need to resort to such petty tactics!” he retorted.
He even tried putting a spin on the monster attack, of all things.
Just like Hermes, Katia naturally caught on to Astor’s ploy and tried calling him out for it, but in a certain sense, Astor sidestepped the issue brilliantly.
“Envying the success of others, she sabotaged people with actual potential and fabricated her own success story—the typical conduct you’d expect from an unsightly fool.”
“Precisely! It is most audacious to defy His Highness!”
“His Highness Astor is on a different league compared to you two scoundrels!“
Even the nobles who had been praising Katia until a short while ago began denouncing her.
This country was riddled with paradoxes, and this was the result.
Hermes and Katia had no allies.
With a triumphant expression, Astor gave his parting words, “I assume I’ve made my point plenty clear by now! Soldiers, arrest these two—”
“Please wait, Your Highness.”
Just then, with a voice as smooth as silk, someone interjected from out of nowhere.
“…Who are you?”
“Jurgen von Trakia, the head of a duke household, at your service. I believe I’ve made your acquiantance,” responded Katia’s father, Jurgen, paying no heed to Astor’s displeased tone. “Your Highness Astor. I’ve mentioned this in the past, but royalty as you may be, I’d rather you refrain from arresting people without any charges to speak of.”
“Hmph. Have you come to cover up your daughter’s wrongdoings using your authority as the Minister of Justice again?”
“You may interpret it as you please. However, arrest without warrant is forbidden, as is clearly stated in the laws of this country. Mind you, the laws of these lands were proposed by my cabinet and I, to which the King then gave his seal of approval. Even royalty must take care not to carelessly break these rules, as it may invite chaos to public order.”
In this country, he was the sole person above Astor in rank.
Evoking his title seemed to prove somewhat effective, as Astor lost steam.
“I’ve used my jurisdiction to acquit Count Hartnett, who Your Highness had arrested a short while ago. I can assure you that I’m not giving special treatment to my daughter exclusively. As such, I ask that you—”
“…Hmph, it no longer matters to me. I’ve lost interest.” Seemingly annoyed, Astor shook his hand and turned his back to Jurgen. “Today, I’ve made it clear that Katia’s accomplishments were nothing more than a sham, so my job here is done. Whether I make haste or not, her little facade will come crashing down either way; I simply must wait for the time to come. Demonstrating patience is another way of showing the Gods my caliber as a king, I suppose,” Astor said as he walked away. However, he suddenly turned in Jurgen’s direction. “You’ve narrowly escaped your demise today, but prepare yourself for what’s to come, old fox, for I shall bring your multifarious wrongdoings to light in due course!”
“My, how terrifying. I can only pray that that day never comes.”
In response to Jurgen’s aloof reply, Astor clicked his tongue in displeasure.
Astor then took his leave, and the three of them were given the exact opposite looks than they got at the beginning of the party.
“…Well then,” murmured Jurgen, despite being at the center of the nobles’ glares. “I can only wonder who actually ‘narrowly escaped demise’ here, Your Highness. Preoccupied with the old fox before you, it appears like you failed to realize that you were stepping on the tail of a silver tiger.” Jurgen looked to his side. He broke into a cold sweat, which was rather unusual of him.
There stood Hermes, ever indignant, if not even more than before. He was deathly silent, and you could even say he looked composed—but the sheer pressure he was giving off said otherwise. Unmoving, he contained his sub-zero wrath within himself.
The three of them sat in Jurgen’s office.
“I deeply apologize, Father…”
“It’s okay, I don’t mind. When things get that out of hand, it’s my job to step in. Authority exists for times like those, after all, so raise your head,” Jurgen said, generously forgiving Katia.
Ultimately, the party broke up immediately thereafter.
A complete 180 from when they first arrived, the three of them were given cold glares as they returned to the estate.
“What was your impression of His Highness, Hermes?” Jurgen asked Hermes, who remained ever silent.
“…I thought he was a complete joke. I feel like I’ve come to slightly understand how Master felt.”
Rose loathed the royal capital, and she didn’t want Hermes to go there.
Hermes now knew why she felt the way she did.
“Really now. You didn’t think he was frightening or anything of the like?”
“His magic was tremendously powerful, I’ll give him that. That being said… all he did was employ brute force, and it all hinged on his innate talent. Technique-wise, he isn’t all that different from Count Eldridge, who we saw the other day.”
At the current moment, Hermes likely didn’t have any spells that could outperform Astor’s magic.
However, that was only for now.
His magic—The Inscription of Genesis, The Emerald Tablet—works by recreating other magic. Each time he analyzes Bloodline Magic, stores it away, and makes it his own, The Emerald Tablet only grows stronger and stronger.
“…I’ll surpass His Highness Astor in magic. Then, I’ll prove once and for all that he’s in the wrong.”
If magic is everything in this nation, then I’ll just roll with it.
I’ll beat them at their own game. I want to reject everything that that prince stands for.
“Then, you’ll do as you please with this country in the prince’s steed, I presume?” Jurgen asked, as if testing him.
“Surely not,” Hermes replied on the spot.
After seeing that circus show, there’s no way in hell I’ll ever want to become like him.
“I just want them to know… Magic isn’t a gift from the Gods, nor is someone helpless to do anything if they aren’t ‘blessed’. Anyone’s capable of learning it with hard work and determination. Magic is just as liberating as it is beautiful.”
“I see,” Jurgen said with a satisfied nod. “I’ve always thought that this country places too much emphasis on Bloodline Magic as well. If there exists someone who’ll tear down their values, I’d be more than willing to invest in them… So, for the time being, I present you with these.” Jurgen spread several documents onto the office desk. “Our reputation got dragged through the mud at today’s party, so for starters, we gotta fix that. These papers include monster subjugation requests that were too much for other households to handle, as well as work concerning remote labyrinths that aren’t in anyone’s territory. I’ll give you these jobs by order of priority, so I want you and Katia to take care of these in the meantime.”
During today’s party, Astor said that Katia’s power was fake and that her facade would come crashing down and whatnot.
In that case, all we have to do is rack up achievement after achievement, to the point where no one would ever think her power is fake—to the point where her so-called “facade” won’t come crashing down.
And we have all the request papers in the world to prove it.
“If you two take care of all these request papers, I’m sure there’ll be multiple people who begin to doubt what His Highness says.”
Although Hermes said he’d best Astor in magic, he couldn’t just go over and storm the royal palace right this instant.
What he wanted to change was their value system; it’d only make sense to start by razing that to the ground.
“Are you alright with this, Katia?” Jurgen double-checked with Katia, who had been silently listening thus far.
“Yes, I am, Father,” Katia replied with a nod. “I also think that His Highness crossed the line today. I sincerely doubt it’s in this country’s best interest to let His Highness continue to act like that. Besides…”
“He called…my Bloodline Magic fake, which Herm went out of his way to strengthen. I want to make him eat his words,” she said, puffing out her cheeks adorably. She also said “my” extremely quietly.
In response, Hermes made a slightly confused face, unsure of what she meant by that.
Jurgen gave both of them a cryptic, wry smile.
Thus, in just a single day, Hermes experienced first-hand just how much of an obstacle to his goals Astor would be.
Their battle with Second Prince Astor had begun.
Today’s recreator chap. Honestly was a bit disappointed to see that Hermes didn’t beat Astor’s ass, but the author’s likely saving that for later. Astor seems to be shaping up as the main antagonist. I’m pretty interested in seeing where this goes. I also need to get around giving the synopsis an actual translation lol. Anyway that’s all, I’ll post magic arrow tmrw. Thanks for reading.