Chapter 37.1: Eward Lionheart (1)

Slaaap!

The bed bounced in its frame with a sound so terrible that it was hard to believe it came from just a slap. The heavy blow, which was loaded with all of Eugene’s emotions, woke Eward up from the haze of alcohol and drugs that had been clouding his mind.

“Aaargh!” Eward let out a scream.

Although he had woken up, he still hadn’t grasped the situation. After first clutching at his sore cheek, Eward lifted his head, only for Eugene to push Eward’s hands aside.

“Have you come to your senses yet?” Eugene asked as he slapped Eward once more.

Though, rather than a slap, it would be more accurate to call it a full-on assault. The force of the blow even collapsed the legs of the bed, sending Eward sprawling backward with his legs up in the air.

“Aaargh!” Eward screamed once again.

“Geez, big brother,” Eugene sighed.

He raised his hands to deliver another blow, but Eward managed to react in time by covering his head with his arms. 

Eward had only been slapped twice, but thick streams of tears were already dripping down his face. Considering that the insides of his cheeks had been torn, filling his mouth with blood, and his teeth had definitely been knocked loose, it was only natural that Eward was in a great deal of pain.

But for him to cry because of that? He wasn’t just some nineteen-year-old man from any ordinary family. No — he was the eldest son of the Lionheart clan’s direct line, a descendant of Vermouth! And he was crying just because he got slapped twice on the cheek? Eward’s tears did nothing to cool Eugene’s rage. Instead, the sight of his whimpering only made his anger rise even higher.

“Do you really think you deserve any sympathy?” Eugene sneered.

Disoriented, Eward babbled, “Wh-who are you? Why am I—? Wh-where is this?”

“Are you playing dumb, or do you really not know what’s going on? The latter is definitely a possibility, considering that you took drugs while already drunk on alcohol. But, having gone that far, it wouldn’t be a surprise if you had difficulty recognizing your own parents,” as Eugene said all this in a calm voice, he reached out with his hand.

Eward trembled and flinched backward. The sight of him then grabbing the blood-stained sheets and pulling them over his head was both absurd and pathetic.

Eugene took a moment to calm himself before continuing, “...That’s why I need you to come to your senses first. Now, turn your other cheek towards me.”

“Who-who on earth are you?” Eward repeated his question.

Eugene tsked in disapproval, “You really are out of it. Do you still not recognize me? It can’t be helped. It looks like I’ll need to keep hitting you. If you haven’t come to your senses yet, it just means you’re not in enough pain. If I hit you a few more times, you’ll have to come to your senses even if you don’t want to.”

Eward begged, “St-stop! Please don’t hit me—.”

“First of all, get that blanket out of the way. Don’t try to block it. If you pointlessly try to block it, I might just hit somewhere else by mistake, and that’ll be bad news for you.”

Although he said this, Eugene didn’t wait for Eward to move on his own accord. He pulled down the blanket and pushed away Eward’s hands covering his head.

The side of Eward’s face that had been slapped twice was already swollen, and blood was dripping from his cracked lips. Eugene grabbed Eward’s nose and turned his head so that the other side was facing him.

“Aaaaargh!”

Ignoring Eward’s screams, Eugene slapped him twice on the remaining cheek so that the two sides appeared equal. Then he grabbed Eward’s head and held him in place with both hands.

Eugene asked once more, “Now, have you come to your senses?”

“Uuu…. Uwahhh…,” Eward could only sob in reply.

“Ah, sorry,” Eugene belatedly realized something. “You might not be able to recognize me because I currently have my appearance tweaked a bit.”

Eugene immediately removed the transformation spell and returned to his original appearance. Eward’s eyes finally widened in recognition. His tear-filled eyes wavered, looking around desperately for help as he stammered, “Eu-Eu-Eugene.”

“Hey, big brother,” Eugene casually greeted him.

“You— Wh-what are you doing here?”

“I followed you here, big brother.”

In his heart, he would much rather curse Eward out, but, for now, Eugene decided to address Eward as his big brother in a friendly tone.

“Just what were you thinking?” he asked.

“...Umm… Wha—?” Eward mumbled uncomprehendingly.

“I’m asking you, just what on earth were you thinking, big brother? I mean, I really have tried to sympathize with your situation, and I get that you’re under a lot of stress, you know? Since your reality stinks like shit, I get that you might want to play around in the sweet depths of a succubus dream.”

“I… I was just—”

“I thought that it was pathetic and stupid of you, but it wasn’t like I couldn’t understand why you were doing it. And the lifeforce that you were offering to the succubus belonged to you in the first place, right, big brother? So it’s up to you to decide if you want to escape from reality by getting satisfaction from your dreams. However, this is just going too far.”

Grind.

Eugene pressed down on Eward’s temples with both hands. The vice-like pressure caused Eward’s eyes to become red and bloodshot. He tried to twist himself free of Eugene’s hands, but Eugene refused to let go of Eward.

“You’re not allowed to get involved with black magic,” Eugene solemnly stated, keeping up the pressure.

Eward groaned, “Aaah…. Ughhh….”

“As the eldest son of the Lionheart’s direct line, the man next in line to become the Patriarch… how could you try and make a contract with a demonfolk? And with something like an incubus at that?”

“Th-that’s…. I-I just couldn’t help it—”

“What do you mean, you couldn’t help it? You crazy bastard!” Eugene suddenly roared. “Do you even know what happens if you get into black magic with a contract instead of at least learning how to use it with the proper method? Your soul becomes the property of the demonfolk. You become a slave who kills when told to kill and dies when told to die.”

There were two methods to start learning black magic.

One method was to slowly learn how to control demonic power. However, it wasn’t really a method that just anyone could pull off. Unless you were a truly exceptional wizard, you wouldn’t be able to learn how to control demonic power all on your own.

As such, most black wizards used the other method. Which was to make a contract with a demonfolk. Even if you were lacking in skill, you could still at least make a contract; and even if you couldn’t control demonic power on their own, you could still receive demonic power from the demonfolk you had contracted with.

Most black wizards raised their strength using the demonic power they received from the demonfolk they were contracted to. Thus, even with pitiful talents, they could quickly raise their levels, but no matter how strong they became, they could no longer escape their ties to the demonfolk.

Eugene unleashed a storm of questions, “Do you really think that this is a problem that will affect only you? Do you truly understand what will happen if you become a black wizard?

Let’s see, the first thing to fall into the gutter because of you would probably be the family’s honor. But that’s only the start of it. What if the demonfolk you contracted with told you to kill your mother? Then your father, and finally your siblings. What would you do if he asked you to bring him the main family’s White Flame Formula and all the treasures in the treasure vault?”

“H-he said that I wouldn’t need to show him unconditional obedience,” Eward protested with a disgruntled expression. “He said that he would treat me with proper consideration—! That he wouldn’t give me any impossible or irrational orders…. Th-that’s what he promised.”

“Who promised that?” Eugene sneered. “Was it that fucking incubus bastard? You idiot, do you really think that the demonfolk are like the dragons or the elves? To them, breaking a promise is as easy as a flick of the wrist.”

Eward tried to argue, “B-but… our ancestor and the Demon Kings—”

“That fucking oath was made with a Demon King! Do you really think that a promise made with a smallfry incubus will have the same power?” With this cry, Eugene tightened the hold he had on Eward’s head instead of releasing it. “You won’t need to show him unconditional obedience? That’s right, you won’t need to. You can refuse to obey his orders; as long as you’re prepared to die that is. But you, do you really have the guts to do that? Could you really disobey him if it meant that you would die instead?”

“...,” Eward couldn’t say anything in his defense.

Eugene sneered, “As if you could do something like that. You’re just a bastard who can’t even defend yourself and instead escapes into alcohol and dreams.”

“Y-you….” As tears fell from his eyes, Eward’s voice found some strength, “You… what the hell gives you the right to judge me?”

“Hah, fine then,” with a snort, Eugene nodded his head in challenge. “You think there’s something wrong with what I just said? Then why don’t you have a go at defending yourself, big brother?”

“You, you have no idea. You—! Ever since four years ago, everyone has been paying attention to you. Since you were adopted into the main family, fa—fath—the Patriarch has been raining down support on you, so how could you—?!”

“If someone else was listening to you, they might think you were being discriminated against. But you’ve also received a lot of support, haven’t you, big brother? Weren’t you also granted access to the leyline? And haven’t you also inherited the White Flame Formula? Then, because you wanted to learn magic, they even sent you off to Aroth, and you were even given a chance to become the disciple of a Tower Master. Am I wrong?”

“That’s….”

“I’ve been getting the same amount of support as you, big brother. I’m not this great because the Patriarch favored me over you, but it’s just because I was born this amazing.”

These words caused Eward’s shoulders to tremble in anger.

Eugene continued, “Not only was I born with great talent, but I also put in just as much effort to become great. I bet I’ve worked a lot harder than you, right, big brother?”

“Just because… you’re innately talented… it’s impossible for me to compare to you…!” Eward squeezed out these bitter words.

“So that's why you tried to get into black magic?” Eugene asked. “That's why you would sign a contract with an incubus, drag your family’s name through the mud, and give up everything you have? And just how far do you think you’d get by doing that?”

Eugene let go of Eward’s head. He lifted a finger to draw Eward’s attention and pointed to the black wizard kneeling on the floor beside them.

“Even if I fought a bastard like that with my eyes closed, I could still kill him within ten seconds,” Eugene confidently stated.

“...,” Eward bit his lip in silence.

“With the help of black magic, that’s about as far as you could go. Did you really think that the strength you would get from signing a contract with an incubus would be all that amazing? Ah, right. You might have been able to somehow use him as an intermediary so that you could sign a contract with the Queen of the Night Demons. Was that what you were hoping for, big brother?”

Eward’s cheeks trembled as he clenched his teeth. Bullseye! Eugene snorted and shook his head.

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Openbookworm's Thoughts

“Ah, sorry, you might not be able to recognize me because I currently have my appearance tweaked a bit.”



dMomo: this guy is pure entertainment. don't you recognize me? oops, sorry, I forgot I am in disguise. hahaha

Yojj: dead 😂