< — Truth & Lies — > (1)
TN: WE ARE ON BOOK 4!!
“You may enter, young master.”
Jerome led Damian till they reached the front of the office. Damian took a deep breath in front of the large door then pushed the heavy door aside and walked in. Before leaving for boarding school, he’d only been inside this room once.
The Duke had called the boy to tell him he was going to boarding school.
[I have done my part and declared you as my successor. The rest is up to you. Graduate. Then this place is yours]
From that day on, it became Damian’s life goal to inherit the title of the Duke, someday. He’d never thought of the reason or what he would do after he became the Duke. The goal was just the boy’s meaning for existence. It was his worth for living.
Now, Damian had found a true goal. Becoming the Duke was simply a means towards that goal.
He wanted to have power. Only with power could one protect whom they want to protect. Just as his father was able to protect his mother because he had the power, Damian wanted to have it too.
Damian admired his father. His father was a great knight and the strongest man in the world. However, he had no confidence of becoming like his father so he had to find a possible way for himself to become stronger. The greatest power the boy could obtain from his efforts alone were the abilities/knowledge he could gain at the academy.
The air inside the office was a little breezy. The unique shallow fragrance of wood drifted off the furniture and documents were piled up on the spacious desk positioned diagonally to the entrance. In the quiet office, only the intermittent sound of pages being turned could be heard.
Damian walked quietly and stopped a few steps away from the desk. Hugo lifted his head and saw Damian then lowered his head back to his document.
“Is this going to take a while?” (Hugo)
“No. I came to tell you I will be returning back to the academy.”
“I believe it will be difficult to keep up with this semester’s courses at this point.”
“Yes. But if I return now, I will be able to listen to the session for the semester break. I can replace the semester I missed with this session.”
“You can graduate even if you don’t complete one semester.”
“I want to have the best grades.”
“I told you, you only need to graduate.”
“I just want to do that.”
“I want to gain power by increasing my knowledge.”
Hugo lifted his head.
Damian was a little nervous receiving his father’s gaze. Hugo studied Damian carefully. The boy stood upright and his gaze was lowered to the floor but there was no sign of intimidation.
It was much better than his vassals who turn timid once he laid his eyes on them. Hugo recalled the first day he saw Damian. The eyes of the child Philip brought were clear and pure. That was why he couldn’t help but believe Philip’s words saying that he was his brother’s son.
A child of the Taran blood would not have such eyes unless it was his brother’s child.
Hugo chuckled and turned his gaze back to the document. He signed it with a pen and moved it to the side.
“Scholars do not rule the world. How do you know that the knowledge you’ll learn and nurture from the Academy will become your strength?”
Damian was taken aback by the unexpected problem presented to him.
“If you graduate, regardless of your grades, this place is yours. If you are the Duke of Taran, then that should be significant power.”
Whether the boy kept his grades and graduated or earned the best grades and graduated, the position of the Duke was the boy’s. Hence, regardless of the effort put in, the result was still the same.
Damian wanted to gain new strength, not one given to him by his father but one that he gained with his own hands. As for the greatest strength that student Damian could gain from the academy with his efforts alone? There was only one thing that came to mind.
There was an organization called ‘Conference’ consisting only of students in ‘Ixium’, the academy which Damian attended. In Ixium, the power of Conference was remarkable. The Chairman of ‘Conference’ was called ‘Shita’. Damian was still quite young so he had had no direct encounter with them and members of Conference were mostly senior students.
Every once in a while as he walked the school grounds, he got to witness students watching the road for these ‘conference’ members as though they were kings. Even when he saw that, at the time Damian did not have much interest.
Because then, the boy’s goal was simply to graduate. However now, he was interested.
“I will become ‘Shita’.”
Hugo looked up to face Damian, an intrigued look in his eye.
“‘Shita’ is the Academy’s…” (Damian)
“I know what it is.” (Hugo)
Hugo never attended the Academy but he held interest in it. It wasn’t just because he sent Damian there but because of its inclination. It wasn’t just the nobles of Xenon, nobles of other nations were increasingly sending their children to Ixium because of personal connections.
In about ten years, the completion of a course in Ixium would become an indispensable process for nobles. As a place where people lived, it was somewhat similar to others. The Academy had its own powers and rankings. Even so, in a restricted environment like the Academy, one might wonder what the big deal is with a time-constrained power but in fact, the more enclosed an environment is, the more absolute the power.
As far as Hugo was concerned, it was better than being the king of an insignificant minor nation. The power of the Academy’s Shita was greatly strengthened by the war and as time passed, it became even stronger. By the time Damian graduated, it would become a force that could not be ignored.
The experience and status from becoming the Academy’s Shita would be able to overthrow the limitations of his birth status as an illegitimate child. The child may not have thought of such a distant future but Hugo was very intrigued by the conclusion the boy had reached.
When Hugo received reports on Damian’s life on the Academy, it detailed that the boy was studying very hard but apart from that, he showed no interest in anything else. So why did he suddenly want power? How much could he accomplish? Hugo wanted to see.
“It’s not a position you can get by just studying.”
“Keep this in mind. Inadequate power is worse than non-existing power. If you want to be the best, you have to be high enough that others wouldn’t even dare to look at you.”
“Did you know of your mother entering you into the register?”
“Yes. Mo…ther told me.”
“Go tell her you’ll be returning to the Academy”
“Anything else is fine with me but don’t go killing people at the Academy. That one’s a little troublesome to sort out. If you do end up doing so, contact me first before informing the Academy.”
His father was a scary person indeed. Damian once again realized this fact.
Damian bowed his head and left the office. A while after the boy left, Hugo chuckled lightly and muttered to himself.
“Your son is a dozen times smart than you.”
Whenever he recalled his brother, he always felt pain but strangely this time, he only felt good inside.
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