Chapter 22.1: The Offer (3)

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Eugene lowered his sword as he spotted Gerhard walking over with a strange expression on his face.
Gerhard looked as if someone he knew had just died and was swaying weakly as he walked.
Eugene could clearly guess what Gerhard had been talking about with Gilead, which emotions Gerhard was currently feeling, and why his father was coming here now.

“Father, what’s with the expression?” Eugene asked.

Instead of acting like he already knew what was wrong, Eugene decided to ask Gerhard directly.
Gerhard raised his lowered head at Eugene’s words, catching sight of the annex as he did so.
He realized that even a single annex assigned to the guests was bigger than their house in Gidol.

Gerhard tried to draw confidence from the fact that, at the very least, their gymnasium at home was larger, but the sword his son was holding made his shoulders fall once more.
It was the Storm Sword Wynnyd.
He had heard the whole story from Gion about how his son had chosen the sword personally as a gift from the main family’s treasure vault.

Even if he sold off all the property that Gerhard’s family had accrued over the years, he still wouldn’t be able to afford a sword like that.

“…Son,” Gerhard began to speak, even as his feelings of inadequacy continued to grow.
“…The Patriarch of the main family has offered to adopt you.”

“I already knew about that.
He discussed it with me earlier,” Eugene replied with a shrug.
“But what does that have to do with your expression, father? After all, it’s not like the adoption would separate us since you’ll be coming with me into the main family.”

“…That’s what he said.
However… I’m not sure… if I should.
If it’s for the sake of your future, allowing you to enter the main family through adoption is the right choice.
But in that case…,” Gerhard hesitated, unable to finish what he was trying to say.

Persecution from the main family and future conflicts over succession rights—Gerhard could easily imagine these dangers lying in wait for Eugene in the future.
However, he doubted whether his still thirteen-year-old son would be able to comprehend such concerns. 

“…Hypothetically… if you are adopted into the main family, you may have to face many difficult things later on,” Gerhard warned Eugene.

“Probably,” Eugene agreed readily.

Although Gerhard didn’t go into detail, Eugene clearly understood what he was implying.

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“But father, so what if there are?” Eugene riposted. 

“…Huh?” Gerhard mumbled in incomprehension.

“Although there might be a lot of difficult things awaiting me in the future, there should also be plenty of good things as well,” Eugene reasoned.

“…” Gerhard couldn’t respond.

“Father, I’ll be fine no matter what happens,” Eugene promised while sheathing Wynnyd in its scabbard.

Then he walked over to Gerhard with a grin.

“If you don’t want me to be adopted, then let’s just go back to Gidol,” Eugene said with ease.

“…,” Gerhard stayed silent.

Eugene continued, “I really mean it.
As I said, I’ll be fine no matter what happens.
Can’t you see, father? I’m doing quite well now, aren’t I?”

‘I really have grown up well despite everything,’ Eugene thought to himself with a nod. 

“Even though I haven’t trained my mana or learned from a great teacher, I was still able to beat the children of the main family.
As your son, I think I’ve done pretty well for myself.
Even if I don’t get adopted into the main family, I will continue to do well,” Eugene promised.

Gerhard felt the sincerity in his son’s words, and it led his eyes to shine with unshed tears.

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Eugene gave him the finishing blow, “I’ve never regretted that you are my father.”

Hiccup.

Gerhard swallowed a sob.

“I was born as your son.
It’s thanks to you that I am here today,” Eugene was fully willing to admit this.

If Gerhard had turned out to be someone with a puffed-up opinion of himself that didn’t match his abilities, Eugene’s childhood could have been troublesome in many ways.
However, Gerhard wasn’t that type of person.
He had respected Eugene’s determination and, from a young age, he had given Eugene whatever training materials he had asked for.

“That’s why, father, don’t needlessly blame yourself.
Instead, you should be proud of who you are.
I was only able to grow up so well because, father, you were able to raise me, your son, well.”

“…Eugene….” In the end, Gerhard couldn’t hold back any longer and burst into tears, “I… I… I’ll follow you wherever you want to go.
Instead of considering my reputation, you should decide based on your own dreams for the future.”

“Whether it’s in Gidol or in the main family, I’m sure that I will achieve my dreams,” Eugene replied in a voice filled with confidence.

As well as confidence, these words held a ring of certainty to them.
While there were a lot of advantages he could get by being adopted into the main family, they weren’t absolutely necessary for him to achieve his goals.

‘They’ll only speed up my progress by a few years anyhow.’

He only needed to train up a minimal amount of mana to summon spirits.
He could manage at least that much, even if he returned to Gidol.
If Gerhard’s family mana training scripture proved inadequate, he could still use Hamel’s mana training scripture.
With this absurd body of his, even that cheap mana training scripture used only by mercenaries should still prove quite effective.

And after that? At that point, he would be able to summon the lowest level of spirits.
Even if this only enabled him to cover his sword with a blade of wind, it would replace the need for sword-light.
With just that, Eugene was confident that he could overpower any knight he faced.

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“…However, Eugene, if you’re adopted into the main family, you will have a lot more opportunities available to you,” Gerhard reminded his son after he had calmed down.

“Well, that’s true,” agreed Eugene.

“But I’m afraid you might face a lot of disdain once you’re adopted…,” Gerhard confessed his concern.

“Father, you’ve been watching me ever since I was young,” Eugene said as he began poking Gerhard in the gut.
“I’m not the type to just let any disrespect go unchallenged.
Didn’t you hear about it? On my first day here, I beat up Cyan from the main house.”

Gerhard winced, “I almost passed out when I heard about that….”

“What was so shocking about it? In any case, you don’t need to worry about me.
Instead, you should be worrying about yourself, father.”

“Worrying about myself…?”

“About this dad bod of yours,” Eugene said, as he stopped poking Gerhard’s gut and instead lifted it up with both hands.
“The food they serve in the main estate is a whole lot tastier than what we’ve had at home.
With how little exercise you get even now, if you start stuffing yourself full of all sorts of food once you’re staying at the main estate, your beer belly will explode for sure.”

“Ha…ha ha ha,” Gerhard burst into laughter.

“If you want to be around to see my future, you need to take care of your health first,” Eugene threatened.

Faced with his son’s serious appearance, Gerhard finally calmed down and agreed, “That’s right….
You make a good point.” 

All the helplessness and self-loathing he had felt, now seemed ridiculous in hindsight.

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“Eugene,” Gerhard said, belatedly donning a solemn expression.
“…Your name is Eugene Lionheart, the name given to the son of Gerhard Lionheart.”

“Of course it is,” Eugene replied.

“Your name was….
Both your late mother and I chose it together for you.
Never forget this fact,” Gerhard said with some sadness.

“I’m not an idiot.
Do you really think I’d forget my own name?” Eugene asked with a snicker, but he still obediently nodded his head.

“Even if you are adopted into the main family, your real father who raised you from birth is, and always will be, Gerhard Lionheart,” Gerhard finished this with a silent nod.

Despite his solemn expression, tears were still dripping down his face.
Without letting out any sobs, he hugged Eugene tightly.

‘In the end, it looks like I’m getting adopted,’ Eugene thought from within Gerhard’s embrace. ‘Although it seems like things will be a bit bothersome, there’ll be many things I can wring benefits from, so it’ll be worth it in the end.’

Eugene held no desire to become the Lionheart clan’s Patriarch.
Although he didn’t know what might happen later, if he needlessly showed any signs of ambition for the position of Patriarch at this early stage, there would surely be a lot of annoying restraints placed on him.

‘Although I’m not sure if everyone will believe me when I say that I’m not interested.’

Especially the main wife, Tanis, and the second wife, Ancilla.
Those two would have no choice but to try and keep Eugene in check.

‘…They’ll definitely have a lot of injunctions and restraints placed on me….
Unless I confront them head-on, that is.
Or I could just try ignoring them.’

Eugene, of course, preferred the former solution to the latter.

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