Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 61 (Part 2)
My cheek was suddenly struck. And, because of the force of that blow, the chair fell over with a large crash. I’d managed to lift my head so that I wouldn’t hit it, but had fallen down on my back instead and was lying on the floor.
While I was still on the floor, dazed about what had just happened, the door flew open.
“Lyle-sama, what was that sound… Ciel-bocchama!?”
It was Orobas. It seemed he had been standing by the door.
He ran to me and helped me up right away, bringing a potion to my lips. I drank it at his urging and the pain faded from the areas of my body that had been throbbing.
“Bocchama, do you feel dizzy? Does it hurt anywhere?”
I hadn’t hit my head in the first place and my vision was clear, which was only a matter of course since I drank the potion.
But, for some reason, tears started falling down my cheeks one by one.
Why was I crying?
I knew why he had slapped me.
The Evil God and magic. The history of the Soleil kingdom that was nearly destroyed by the Evil God again and again. And, the discrimination against the dark attribute. Because of these I was strictly told time and time again that I mustn’t use magic so that nobody would find out what I am.
As he desperately tried to protect his family, Father became overly-sensitive towards my three-year-old self. And yet I uttered the word magic after bringing up the story of the Evil God. It was no wonder he had immediately slapped me.
Though I understood this, the tears wouldn’t stop falling. My vision was blurry and I couldn’t see what kind of expression was on Father’s face. I think he was feeling indignant, but I couldn’t speak even if I wanted to apologize.
Orobas let out a sigh and raised his head.
“Now then, Lyle-sama, I didn’t feel any mana being used, so why did you hit bocchama?”
“Th-that. Ciel was… he said magic.”
“Hmm. In other words, you just heard the word magic, so you hit your infant child and sent him flying? An irredeemable fool as always.”
His words were harsh. However, Father just made a choking sound. It seemed he had no comeback.
“Unlike you, who used magic since you were young and went around making trouble for everyone, Ciel-bocchama is a good boy. He’s different from Lyle-sama who used magic all the time no matter how much I scolded him. Do you understand?”
“B-but, it would be too late after he did it. It’s exactly because he’s just a child that we need to be extra careful.”
“Hah? Do you even listen when other people are talking? Didn’t I tell you that Ciel-bocchama has self-control and properly keeps his promise no matter how much mana he has. He’s different from a shitty brat like you.”
For some reason I couldn’t help but feel the frigid air emanating from Orobas. He was a very strict butler even when it came to dealing with Father.
Still, it seemed that Father had used magic since he was small and had been out of control. Which was probably why he was currently known as a genius mage. He was powerful enough to defeat the Evil God.
“So, what are you going to do? I am a butler employed under you and will follow my master’s will.”
As expected of the hard-working Orobas – even after treating him like a complete idiot, he would still follow Father’s orders.
In the meantime, Father should have calmed down [tl:Mtl suggests “get his head out of his ass” and I can’t help but agree. ed: Yes. Same.]. I had also stopped crying, but my eyes and cheeks were stiff and I wanted to wash my face. So I tried to get up out of Orobas’s arms that were still supporting me. But I was snatched away before I could do that.
Arms grabbed hold of me on both sides and I was squeezed into a hug while my eyes were still wide open in surprise.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry, Ciel. Please forgive me.” [tl: No 🙂 ed:Honestly, based on some of the stuff Zagan talked about at the beginning of this story, I’m surprised he’s on any kind of good terms with his father.]
His palm covered the top of my head and stroked my hair gently.
Feeling my father’s warmth, my vision became strangely blurry. Tears welled up in my eyes. They fell down my cheeks one by one.
Father brought his cheek against my wet one, which made me start crying harder. I tried to stop it, but only sobs came out. My beloved father stroked my back that was trembling with sobs and it made me cry even more.
Slowly, my eyes blinked open. What is happening right now?
Though I was still a bit confused, I moved my gaze, prompted by the warmth that surrounded me, and saw Luca’s sleeping face right next to mine.
Ah, so that was a dream.
How nostalgic, a dream of the time Father hit me.
Even though it happened more than twenty years ago, I still remembered the moment vividly. Probably because it was a turning point in my relationship with my father.
Noble society was swarmed with conspiracies and expectations. It was a world where people tried to kick others to the ground and where mind-games were played every day.
However, Father was a commoner who entered the Brady family when he married Mother. Moreover, at the time, he was just an inexperienced thirty-year-old. He had to somehow navigate the world of the nobility by placing his trust in his own strength with which he managed to defeat the Evil God, and was very careful not to do something that could tarnish his past achievements. As the head of the family, he desperately tried to protect it.
As a result of that, he was strung too tight when it came to me. He overreacted to the point where he’d hit me in an instant.
Yes, I’ve always known why he did it. Which was why I wasn’t sad when he hit me. Why then, did I cry so much back then?
I can understand now. It was the original Zagan’s heart, inside of mine, that was crying.
I think that raising a child is quite difficult on its own. And, on top of that, they had to tell this three-year-old child not to leave the basement and not to use magic. It must have been agonizing for the child though to be forbidden from doing something. Which was why the original Zagan wanted to leave the basement, wanted to use magic; it was why he threw so many tantrums. And that was probably why he was hit again and again. After all, it would be too late if people discovered his attribute.
Father was an extraordinary mage, to the point that even Zagan admired him, but he was a novice when it came to parenting. On top of that, since Mother abandoned her parental duties, everything had to be taken care of by the maids. Father had Orobas’s support, but it must have still been stressful.
In the game, as a result of this… Zagan was abused, he destroyed half of the mansion in retaliation and cursed the mother who had abandoned him, putting her in critical condition. It must have had a major, negative impact on Father’s standing in noble society.
However, I had the memories of my previous life. I was curious about magic, but I also knew that if I was patient, I would get to use it one day. There were also many other things that I was interested in. About this world, about Soleil kingdom – I wanted to know about everything.
Is this world just a bunch of data? Or is it a reality filled with vast amounts of information that mere data wouldn’t be able to contain?
I also wanted to know about how this reality differed from my previous world.
I didn’t try to use magic even once, and I didn’t try to leave the basement. Orobas looked after me and noticed my behavior, which was probably why he had scolded Father back then.
After that, Father would properly listen to me. When I asked him to show me some magic, he created a small flame in the palm of his hand. I remember being very impressed by it even though it wasn’t really magic, just mana manipulation. When I got excited and told him how amazing it was, he had laughed happily and kissed me on the forehead. He gave me affection.
After that day, Father changed. Did he grow as a parent? He trusted me and didn’t hit me even if I talked about magic. When I begged for books about magic tools and circuits, he got them for me the very next day. After a few years, I owned so many books, about so many different subjects, that a magic bag was necessary.
At times, though very rarely, he also took me out to the courtyard, which was a huge improvement.
“Ciel, shall we try going out to the courtyard for a bit?”
“! Will it be ok?”
“Yeah, if we go just before bedtime there will be no one there to see us. It’s just that I don’t want to agitate Leticia, so I can’t come see you that often before bedtime. I’m sorry… for spoiling your mother so much.”
“Orobas told me that Mother is a sensitive person, but that she loves Father very much. I am happy that the two of you are getting along so well.”
“Ciel! You’re such a good boy!”
“Yes, a very good child. Nothing like you – a meathead who’s only good for combat.”
Orobas made a snide remark behind Father’s back as he, moved by my words, hugged me. Father should have heard his words, but completely ignored Orobas, raising me high into the sky instead.
Remembering those two and their easy going relationship, a laugh escaped from my lips.
Perhaps because I had made a sound, Luca, who’d been sleeping while hugging me, began to stir.
“Mn.. morning, Zagan. What happened? You seem to be in a good mood for some reason.”
Still half-asleep, Luca kissed my head and rubbed his cheek against me.
I loved him so much, another giggle slipped out.
“Morning Luca. I had a dream about Father and Orobas and suddenly remembered how amusing their dynamic is.”
I placed my cheek against Luca’s chest and hugged him back. He must have still been sleepy because he showed no signs of moving. As I lay there listening to the beat of his heart, I started thinking about my dream again.
Before Noel was born, my world had consisted of Father and Orobas. They were the only two people that I met. I only got to see Father for about an hour or two after he got off from work, and rarely before bedtime. On the other hand, Orobas was with me for breakfast, lunch and dinner. He was there when it was time to study, there when it was time to exercise and there before I went to bed.
And yet, until Luca told me about it the previous night, I thought that Orobas did that because of my father’s orders and not because of love.
Did I think that because I was a dark attribute user? Because I knew how loyal Orobas was towards my father? Or was it because of some other reason?
More than anything, I had probably doubted Orobas because of the original Zagan’s memories.
Orobas was Father’s childhood friend, his best friend and his partner. He was someone who would mercilessly admonish Father if he made a mistake. And yet, that Orobas did not stop Father’s abuse towards my original self.
Orobas fed my original self, taught him and took care of him, and I think that’s why he didn’t go on a rampage until he was nine. But Orobas was never on Zagan’s side. Maybe because he had decided that the selfish child needed harsh education so that he wouldn’t use his magic? Whatever the reason, he was Father’s ally.
However, Father and Orobas were the only two people that Zagan met. Orobas was the only person who could have saved him from the abuse. But he just stood there and watched, never lifting a finger to stop it.
Zagan’s heart must have grown heavy day by day as he hoped for that kindness with which Orobas took care of him only to be met by the despair of seeing Orobas do nothing to help
How painful it must have been, to be confined and continuously abused by his father. He must have been so sad.
Thinking about it made my heart start hurting.
“Zagan…? Why are you sad?”
Sensing it through his mana inside me, Luca noticed that my thoughts had turned melancholy.
When he looked down at me and our eyes met, his face contorted as if he was in pain. I wasn’t crying, but he kissed my eyes, his lips gently touching my skin as if to console me.
I wasn’t crying, but my chest grew warm. I felt happy being comforted by him.
I blinked a couple of times and Luca looked at me again, stroking my cheek in relief.
“Is it all better now?”
“Mnm, sorry Luca. I got swept away by the past. Thank you for comforting me.”
When I thanked him, he hugged me tightly and stroked my back. I hugged him back and buried my face in his chest. Just being wrapped in Luca’s arms was enough to lift my spirits. How simple I was.
He let out an overjoyed laugh when I was the one who rubbed my face against him.
We stayed like that for a bit and then I lifted my face to look at him again.
“Luca, would you do me a favor?”
“Hmm? What is it?”
“If possible, I’d like you to win the match against Orobas.”
His opponent was a seven-thousand-year-old demon – he wouldn’t be able to win against him with some half-hearted feelings. But if Luca thought that we could get permission to get married if he won, then I’d like him to win because of his feelings towards me.
That way, maybe I’ll be able to save the original Zagan.
I wanted to show him that the same way Father had Orobas, Zagan had Luca. I wanted to show him, and myself as well, that there was someone out there who would never betray us no matter what happens.
Orobas had given Zagan hope, but never helped him once. He betrayed him again and again. I wanted to defeat that Orobas, to hold out a helping hand against those memories of despair that lay deep inside his heart.
Luca blinked as I stared at him and then smiled. It was a very self-confident smile.
“Of course, I’ll win for Zagan. It’s only natural.”
“Natural? As expected of Luca.”
“Fufu. Let’s get up, shall we? I have to eat breakfast so that I can do my best.”
I nodded and got out of bed at Luca’s prompting.
It was impossible to know what would happen until the battle started. But Luca clearly told me that he would win. So the only thing I could do was trust his word.