Chapter 39.1: The Square (1)

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“Even though I’ve come all the way here, it looks like I’ll be leaving without getting the chance to have a good talk with you,” Gilead apologized after he personally found his way to Eugene’s room in the early hours of the morning.

Expecting this turn of events, Eugene had woken up early and had been waiting for Gilead’s arrival.

“It’s alright,” Eugene dismissed.
“After all, it hasn’t even been that long since I left.”

Gilead refuted him, “Since it’s already been two months, you could say that it’s been quite a long time.”

Gilead appeared tired.
It might be just because of his current mood, but he looked like he had aged by a few years since Eugene had last seen him.

Hesitantly, Gilead revealed, “…Eward is….
It’s been decided that he’ll be accompanying Tanis to her family’s estate.”

“So he won’t be returning to the main estate?” Eugene confirmed.

“He’ll be returning for a short while, but he’ll be leaving immediately afterward to go to his maternal relatives.
It’s… understandable why she’s doing this.
If he just stays at the main estate, it will be difficult for him in many ways,” Gilead muttered as he looked out the window.
“Of course, I don’t even have the slightest intention of blaming you since you’ve done nothing wrong.”

“I think I might be considered to have done wrong by beating up my older brother,” Eugene confessed.

“If all you did was hit him, then he got off lightly,” though Gilead said this as if it was a joke, he didn’t sound as amused as one might expect.
“…Tanis’ family resides in Kiehl Empire’s Bossar Fief.
The ruler of that fief, Count Bossar, is my father-in-law.
Since it’s a quiet and peaceful place… it will be a good place for Tanis and Eward’s hearts to recover.”

“Are you worried that they might bear a grudge?” Eugene asked.

“I’m only human after all, so of course I am,” Gilead admitted with a bitter laugh.
“When I brought Ancilla into the main family for the clan's sake, I was already prepared to bear a lot of resentment for it.
I don’t… regret doing it.
The Lionheart name is far too heavy to be borne by a single child.
While I didn’t want my children to be enemies, I did believe that some fraternal rivalry was necessary.”

Eugene stayed silent, “….”

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“That’s why I have no regrets,” Gilead continued.
“Although Eward might be my eldest son… as a future Patriarch, his abilities were proving insufficient.
So he needed siblings.
He needed to be stimulated by a competitive rivalry to shore up his weaknesses and thus become someone suitable to be the next Patriarch….
But it looks like I’ve ultimately failed, both as a Patriarch and a father.”

“Sir Patriarch, you’re a good man,” Eugene said as he clicked his tongue in sympathy.

Gilead wasn’t someone who deserved such self-criticism.
At least in Eugene’s view, Gilead was a great Patriarch.

“Thank you for saying that,” Gilead rested his hand on Eugene’s shoulder with a wry smile.
“I’ve come to your room at such an early hour because I was worried that you might be feeling guilty because of this affair.”

Eugene denied this, “I don’t feel guilty at all.”

“That’s how it should be.
Because you did the right thing.
As for Eward and Tanis… don’t worry about them.
You don’t need to worry about Gerhard while he’s staying at the main estate either.”

“Yes, sir.”

Eugene felt grateful for these words.
Although Eugene had no reason to fear Tanis’ resentment, he did feel a slight concern that Tanis might use this scandal as an excuse to oppress Gerhard.
But now that Gilead had reassured him, there wasn’t any need to feel concerned.

‘On the other hand, Ancilla must be bursting with happiness right now, so she should take good care of my father.’

This was inarguable as Ancilla had been able to get rid of her two greatest obstacles, Tanis and Eward, without needing to do anything.
Although it was unknown how long those two would be staying with their maternal relatives, during this time, Ancilla was sure to establish herself in her position as the Madam of the main estate.

“I’ve heard from Lovellian how great you’ve been doing,” Gilead said, his expression softening as he looked at Eugene.
“It turns out that you possess amazing talent not just for martial arts but also for magic.
And you haven’t neglected your training for even a day since you’ve arrived in Aroth.
I really am so proud of how dedicated you are.”

Eugene tried to downplay his achievements, “It’s only because I’m excited to learn something new.”

“And that’s a good thing.” ‘If only you weren’t adopted.’

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Gilead swallowed these words before they could spill out of his throat.

Instead, he said, “…Cyan and Ciel miss you greatly.”

Eugene accepted the change of subject, “Are they still working hard?”

“They’re working so hard, it’s almost excessive.
Cyan trains against Gion and me while saying that he will become stronger than you, and Ciel also regularly comes out of her room to spar with Cyan.”

“Even though she wouldn’t come out while I was there because she said that she hated the smell of sweat?”

“Well, she’s at a sensitive age, isn’t she? Even though she always smiled at me and showed off her cute side when she was young….
Talking about this makes me feel that time really has gone by pretty fast.”

Gilead smiled as he reminisced on the young Ciel.
Though he understood that Ciel was just growing up, he still sometimes missed his daughter’s displays of cuteness.

“Um, Patriarch… there’s also something else,” Eugene reluctantly began to speak.
“It’s about how I’ve recently needed to spend a lot of money.”

“A lot of money?” Gilead repeated curiously.

Although he didn’t know for sure yet whether Gargith had managed to win the bid for the giant’s balls, it might come up as a surprise later, so Eugene had decided to bring it up in advance.
Eugene coughed and began to explain about Gargith and his giant balls.

“You’re saying that he’s bought some giant’s testicles?” Gilead’s eyes widened in surprise.

Just like Eugene, he couldn’t understand how someone would want to purchase a giant’s balls at such a high price.

‘Is it really that good for your body?’ Gilead wondered in disbelief.

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Well, even if it was truly that beneficial for his body, he wouldn’t want to eat it.
Since the giants are already so large, their testicles must be incredibly huge, so how could you eat something like that without going crazy?

“That should be the case,” Eugene confirmed.

Still somewhat perturbed, Gilead hesitantly began to speak, “…There’s no… issue with that.
If he truly needs it then… ahem… and I also have an acquaintance with Viscount Stellord….”

Viscount Stellord was Gargith’s father. 

As he recalled that bulging, muscle-bound relative of his, Gilead nodded and said, “…Don’t be concerned about spending money.
No matter how expensive it might be, if you need something, feel free to buy it no matter what.
However, just… please don’t buy anything related to black magic.”

“Is it okay for me to have something like that?” Eugene asked as he pointed to a table in the corner of his room.

On top of the table was the unicorn heart he had brought back from the drug den.

“It’s already been checked out by Master Lovellian,” Eugene reassured him.
“Although it was intended to be used as a sacrifice, they didn’t get around to truly offering it, so the Head Wizard said that it doesn’t have any traces of black magic on it.”

“If that’s the case, I don’t have any problems with it,” Gilead replied.

“Is it really okay for me to keep it?”

“You won it in battle, so I don’t see why not.”

“But the one who truly bought it was Eward….”

“Don’t worry about it.
Since you’ve gone through a lot of trouble because of Eward, shouldn’t you at least take something like that as compensation?” As he said this, Gilead got up and continued, “Of course, apart from that, if there’s anything you need, feel free to buy it no matter how much it costs.
You don’t need to get my permission each and every time.”

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“Thank you very much,” Eugene gratefully replied.

Although he had received this guarantee, Eugene didn’t have anything he really wanted to buy.
If he wandered through Bolero Street’s auction houses, he might be able to find quite a few rare items, but apart from their inherent value, they wouldn’t be of much use to Eugene.

Of course, lumps of mana like a unicorn’s heart or mana stones were of great help in increasing one’s mana levels.
However, it wasn’t necessarily a good thing to try and make excessive use of them just because of that.
Rather than forcefully increasing the mana capacity, it was better to gradually increase the amount of mana that one had.

‘Though I might be tempted if there was a Dragon Heart.’

No matter how useful the heart of a monster was, it was still just a monster’s heart.
They had a lot of impurities and lowered the purity of one’s mana when used.
The same went for mana stones.
Mana obtained through this method wouldn’t quite match one’s body, and a lot of mana was lost during the process of refining it into the person’s body.

However, a dragon’s heart was a different story.
A pure lump of mana that, if absorbed properly, could allow the core to grow without any losses.
But the only problem was that they were terribly difficult to find.
It wasn’t a question of whether or not it was even possible to hunt a dragon; the issue was that it was strictly forbidden. 

In his previous life, he and his comrades had been lucky enough to absorb a Dragon Heart.
While they were venturing through Helmuth, they met a dying dragon… and following that dragon’s last wishes, the party had taken the Dragon Heart and shared it between them.

“Looks like I need to go now,” Gilead said as he looked out at the dawn sky.
“You don’t need to come out and see me off.
Besides, I’m afraid that Tanis won’t have anything pleasant to say if she sees you.”

Eugene nodded and said, “Please give my regards to my father, Cyan, and Ciel.
Oh, and Ancilla as well.”

“Alright,” Gilead acknowledged with a smile.

Make sure to keep working hard from now on.

Gilead didn’t feel the need to say something like that.
Even if he didn’t say anything, he was sure that Eugene would keep doing his best.
Also, he didn’t want to burden Eugene with any unnecessary words.

‘Although I don’t really believe that he’ll feel burdened from something like that,’ Gilead mused.

But Eward hadn’t been able to endure the pressure placed on him by his surroundings.
That had made Gilead more cautious than before.
After once again looking at Eugene with affectionate eyes, he left the room.

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