Chapter 51.2: The Black Lions (4)

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After calming down, Ciel asked, “…So if you’re not going to become the Patriarch, then what are you going to do?”

“I guess I’ll just do anything I want to do,” Eugene shrugged.

“Did you know? Mother wants me to marry you.”

“How awful.”

Ciel’s eyebrows twitched at Eugene’s immediate reply.

“What’s so terrible about it?” she growled.

“You and I are family, siblings at that,” Eugene pointed out.

Ciel complained, “But you’ve never once called me big sis.”

“We’re the same age, so who do you think you’re calling a little brother?” Eugene argued.
“You aren’t going to repeat the same nonsense that you spouted when you were thirteen, are you? About how you’re the older sister just because you were born a few months earlier?”

“I’ve been telling you to call me big sister for the past four years.
If you’ve been forced to hear me say it this much, can’t you at least pretend to let me win just once and call me big sis?”

“Why should I pretend to lose when I’m always winning? If you really want to hear me call you ‘big sis,’ then why don’t we have a spar for it.
I know you’ve been studying diligently under Gion and the Patriarch, even while you were holed up in your room.”

“Don’t bring up things from the past.”

“If someone could hear you say that, they’d think it happened long ago.
Sorry, but the last time I saw you acting like you’ve got leprosy because you were going through puberty was only three months ago.”

“Puberty usually starts suddenly and stops suddenly.
That’s how it was for Cyan as well.”

“But that wasn’t the case for me?”

“That’s… that’s because you’re the weird one,” Ciel humphed without retracting her pouting lips.

From the twin’s perspective, it was clear that Eugene was the strange one.
Even though they were the same age, his skills were far superior, and then he didn’t even seem to go through puberty like they did.

‘So what about puberty? If I started complaining about puberty, at my real age, that would just be a sign of dementia,’ Eugene thought secretly.

Ciel didn’t even want to think about how hard puberty had hit her just a few months ago.
Like she had just said, her puberty came onto her suddenly.
For some reason, she had started to dislike how she looked in the mirror, and her moods would feel off for no reason.
Her body odor, which she had never found unpleasant since she was born, was suddenly offensive to her….

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But then it was suddenly over.
Ever since Eugene had left for Aroth, the things that had been strangely bothering her didn’t feel so bothersome any longer.

Ciel spoke up, “Can I ask you something?”

“What?” Eugene asked.

Hesitantly, she began, “Well, back then, when I was going through puberty—”

“You are talking about a few months ago, right?” he interrupted teasingly.

“…That was long ago,” Ciel insisted with a glare.

Eugene returned to the topic, “Whatever.
What about back then?”

“Didn’t you smell something strange coming from me?” Ciel asked shyly.

“I didn’t smell anything, though? In the first place, you didn’t even want to come out of your room because you were afraid of giving off any body odor,” Eugene pointed out.

“…How about now?”

“I can smell a slight scent of perfume.”

“What about the smell of sweat?”

“With how refreshing this breeze is, why would you even be sweating? Hey, stop paying attention to such strange things.
So what if people smell of sweat? It happens.”

“So you’re saying that I do smell of sweat?”

“I already said that you don’t.
If you’re really worried about that, you should try meeting with Gargith.”

“Why should I meet with that pig?”

“Because if you meet with him, you’ll come to think that the smell coming from your own body isn’t the smell of sweat, but instead the sweet scent of flowers,” having spat out such a claim, Eugene started to walk off once more.

After standing there silently for a few moments, Ciel followed behind Eugene, the corners of her mouth twitching as she tried to hide a smile.

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“So now you’re saying that I smell of flowers?” Ciel asked, acting purposefully obtuse.

“Even though your body has grown up, it looks like your brain hasn’t,[1]” Eugene observed.

“I did spray on some rose-scented perfume,” Ciel revealed.

Eugene just said, “I prefer the smell of soap over the smell of flowers.

“You sound like an old man.”

Ciel’s careless teasing pierced his heart deeply.
Eugene coughed and, after recovering, gestured to the downtown area below the flying station.

“…So when are we going to buy the present?” he asked.

“I wanted to keep looking around, but….
Hm….” Ciel trailed off without finishing her sentence as she checked her wristwatch.
“…Our appointed meeting time is at five o’clock.”

Eugene asked, “Where are you meeting back up?”

“In front of the warp gate.”

“Are you really heading back today?”

“We’ve already finished signing the contract for Wynnyd.
And because the issue with the black wizard was dealt with before we even arrived… it was decided that we would return right away after picking up some new recruits.”

“Weren’t you returning to the main estate?”

“Nope.
We’re going to Uklas Mountain.
Do you know where that is?”

“I know it’s in the southern portion of the Kiehl Empire.”

“That’s where the Knights of the Black Lion are based.”

“But you haven’t entered the Knights of the Black Lion just yet, have you?”

“It was decided that I would take a simple test from Lady Carmen.
Do you want to go there together?”

Her trying to hook him into doing something without giving him any warning reminded Eugene of back when they were both thirteen.

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Eugene questioned, “Why would I want to go there?”

“Lady Carmen is actually more interested in you than she is in me,” Ciel explained.

“Interested? In me? Why?”

“Why ask when you already gave the explanation with your own mouth earlier? Because you’re so talented.
But even though you’re that talented, you can’t become the Patriarch.
Isn’t it obvious that the Knights of the Black Lion would be interested in someone like you?”

It certainly was obvious.
To be honest, Eugene couldn’t help but feel interested in Ciel’s offer.
After all, the Knights of the Black Lion were the Lionheart clan’s strongest force.

Regretfully, he could only say, “Please tell her not to act on her interest for now and save it for later.”

“Why not?” Ciel asked.

“Currently, I’m having far more fun learning magic.”

“There are a lot of wizards in the Knights of the Black Lion as well.
Like Fargo, who came with us today, he’s at the Fifth Circle.”

“But Crown Prince Honein, over there in the Royal Palace, reached the Fifth Circle when he was only twenty-three years old.”

“That’s just because he’s the Crown Prince of Aroth.”

“Anyways, I won’t go with you right now.”

“Wouldn’t it be more helpful to use the time you’ve spent learning magic to train the White Flame Formula?”

“I’m still training with the White Flame Formula even as I learn magic.”

This was the truth.
Since Eugene had arrived in Aroth, he hadn’t missed a single day of training with the White Flame Formula.

“If you promised to meet up at 5 o’clock, there are only a few hours left,” Eugene reminded Ciel.
“Don’t you need to pick a present?”

Ciel dismissed his concerns, “If it’s something that I’ve personally chosen, Mother will be happy with whatever it is, so it’s fine if we take our time.”

“If that’s how you’re going to play it, why come all the way to Aroth just to buy a present for her?”

“You already heard me say it earlier, so why do you even keep asking?”

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Ciel giggled and clung to Eugene’s arm as she cutely confessed, “I’m here because I wanted to see you.”

“It’s embarrassing, so get off me,” Eugene attempted to shake her off.

“Picking a present for my mother won’t even take me thirty minutes.
That means we need to use our time more efficiently.
Don’t you know any places where we can go and visit?”

“Would you like to see me perform some magic?”

“I feel like that won’t be any fun just watching.
So where….
Oh, that’s right.
They did say the night view in Aroth is famous.
Although I don’t think I’ll get to see it today….
Why don’t we go and take a look at the Wise Sienna’s mansion?”

“I did that on my first day here.”

“But you haven’t seen it with me.”

Eugene was dragged along by his arm.

* * *

“Since he said that he doesn’t know anymore, then it can’t be helped,” a cold voice declared.

They were in an underground prison cell.

The smell of blood mixed with the scent of cigarettes was coming from where Carmen had been leaning back against the wall.
She finally threw the cigar she had been chewing on onto the floor.

They were here for Gavid, the black wizard who had been a member of the Wizards Guild.
Among the many people who had been caught in the drug den on Bolero Street, those who could be killed were already dead, and those who shouldn’t be killed were imprisoned.

Gavid was someone who would usually be killed without consequences.
He wasn’t a member of the Black Tower of Magic, and even in the Wizards Guild, he was nothing more than a trivial black wizard of no significant strength who drifted around the night streets of Aroth.

Nevertheless, Gavid hadn’t died and had remained alive until now.

And today, he was finally being executed.

But before that, he had first been tortured.
There had been no need for Carmen to come forward to do this task personally.
Naishon, the commander of the Third Division, was good with spears, but he was also skilled in torture.
Most of the Lionheart’s Knights of the Black Lion were like that.
Their fangs and claws weren’t just good at biting and tearing their enemies from the front.

Gavid was the one who had arranged the contract for Eward Lionheart.
From what he had told them, the two had become friends through meeting at the succubi’s shop on Bolero Street.
Their friendship had started at the beginning of this year, and Gavid claimed that he would always hang out with Eward when Bolero Street opened once a month.

1.
This is a reference to their first meeting when Eugene criticized her for having a rose-tinted view of the world, and Ciel mistook it as a compliment. ☜

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