< — Epilogue– > (3)
Hugo rummaged through his drawer looking for something then he found an envelope deep inside his bottom drawer. It was something he had kept for safe-keeping, but he couldn’t remember what it was, so he took out the envelope and brought out the document inside. On the signature panel, was his wife’s penmanship, renouncing her parental right.
Hugo looked at the document with an odd expression and laughed. Even thought it seemed like a long time ago, the events of that day flashed through his mind, vividly, as if it were an event from yesterday.
Among the documents he had received in exchange for establishing the contract, was the consent form that was used when Damian was being processed into the family register. When they were rushing to the North the next day after their bridal night, Hugo had only handed Jerome the documents for entering Damian into the family registry.
And so, since that day, the document where she renounced her parental right had remained untouched in his office drawer in the capital.
‘I wonder why I didn’t take this.’
The parental right renouncement document was more important that the consent form for the family register. Without a renouncement of custody, Damian’s mother on paper would be able to exercise full rights to the child after he was entered into the registry.
He didn’t know why he didn’t take it at the time and hand it over to Jerome to take to Roam. It was something he had done but he couldn’t remember what he was thinking when he did it.
Hugo put the document back into the envelope. The document wasn’t needed anymore. Damian and Evangeline were both her children, entirely. He couldn’t take the rights to her children away from her, for any reason.
He thought about tearing it then he heard Fabian’s voice from outside the door and pushed it to the side of his desk.
Fabian came in, submitted his report and began to report on some unique matters.
“Young master Damian departs in three days.”
“And how are we with putting his name on the list of those boarding the gate?”
There were three gates in the city-state of Philarch, where the Academy was located, and compared to the number of students at the Academy, they were very few people that were able to board them. Due to this, when royal descendants or high-ranking nobles enrolled in the school, they also purchased the right to utilize the gate.
The Academy sold the passes for utilizing the gate at an enormous price, but they were still swamped with applicants, so they held lotteries.
In the middle of the semester, there was less personnel boarding the gates so one was able to go through without purchasing a pass. However, at the start of the vacation which was flooded with users, only those on the boarding list could use the gates.
Most students left Philarch for the nearest country and boarded the gate there. With that method, it took at least three days to get to the gate.
When Damian enrolled in the Academy, he did not apply for a pass to use the gate. He assumed that there wouldn’t be any reason for him to go home until graduation. However, the situation had changed.
Lucia was frequently thinking of calling Damian home during vacation. Since he could only go out for limited number of days out of year, it was easier for him use the gate than going back and forth. Fortunately, even if a student was boarding at the dorms, it wasn’t mandatory to take a session during vacation.
“The passes will be sold next year, after the new school year starts so I will send in an application.” (Fabian)
Although it was said to be a lottery, there were dealing behind the door. In fact, it was almost no different from an auction. You just had to call out a high price and buy it.
“And concerning what Your Grace mentioned before, we have finished talks with the Count about enrolling Bruno Matin, the youngest son of Count Matin in the Academy.”
After Lucia asked him for a favor, Hugo looked into getting the divorced Countess of Matin to take her son, Bruno, back with her. The eldest son, who succeeded the Count of Matin, had no objections to his youngest brother being taken away by his biological mother. The problem was the Countess.
The Countess had chosen remarriage over her son. Hugo didn’t want bother Lucia so he didn’t tell her that the Countess had remarried when she got back to her parent’s home.
In his own way, Hugo did as much as he could. However, Bruno was his wife’s benefactor, even if that was just in the dream, so he felt uncomfortable not repaying the favor.
He wondered what he could help with and as he was investigating here and there, he remembered his wife saying that in her dream, Bruno had been kicked out of the Academy.
That fact was strange. The Academy’s tuition cost an arm and a leg. It was not likely for the Count of Matin to cough up such a huge sum to get his rebellious son out of his sight. After investigating, Hugo found out an interesting fact.
The father of the late Count Matin had invested into the establishment of the Academy and obtained the right to full scholarship for the next three generations of his family.
When the Academy was initially established, its power was pitifully small. But as the Academy’s reputation increased, it became a colossal power and then, began to retrieve the rights it had sprinkled all over the place.
Due to this, the limitless right to enroll with full scholarship for three generations was restricted to only three people. In Lucia’s dream, the Count of Matin used it to send Bruno away because it was a right that he couldn’t sell to anyone, anyways.
However, the new Count of Matin had no intention of using a right that couldn’t even be bought with money, on his estranged younger brother. He was fortunate to have three sons, so he planned on entering all his children into the Academy.
As far as Hugo knew, Bruno was a boy with a very exceptional mind. However, the elder brother did not care about his younger brother’s talent. He practically neglected Bruno.
Even though in Lucia’s dream, Bruno had gone to the Academy like he was being kicked out of his house, sending Bruno to the Academy was probably the best thing that Count Matin did as a father.
‘It will be better for him to develop his talent at the Academy, rather than staying in a house where neither his brothers nor parents care for him.’
Hugo disguised himself as a sponsor who didn’t want to let Bruno’s talent go to waste.
The Count of Matin was wary of the unknown sponsor who promised to pay the full enormous cost of sending his youngest brother to the Academy, without getting anything in return. He was afraid that he might suffer damage in some way due to this. Like father, like son; the new Count of Matin was small-minded. His conscience felt somewhat guilty towards his younger brother who he heard was being praised as a genius.
Negotiations with the Count of Matin went slower than expected. Hugo had wondered if he should just off the bastard too. If Count Matin had dragged things out a little more, he might have ended up like his father.
“So he will be enrolled next year?”
“No. The following year. The applications for next year are already closed.”
The number of people who wanted to attend the Academy was growing more and more so you had to submit your application at least a year before you enrolled.
“How old will he be in the following year?”
“Fourteen, Your Grace.”
“14? Will he be entering the six-year course?”
“No. He wanted to do the basic four-year course.”
The Academy’s basic course was the most advanced course for the school year. The academic standards were just that high. Most of the students enrolled in the school at sixteen.
“Is he confident in being able to follow the lessons? I think he’s too young.”
“Young master Damian will also begin the basic course at fourteen.”
“Leave out my son. If he’s going to take over from me, then that is only natural.”
Fabian would never call that natural, but he didn’t bother saying anything.
“I have judged Bruno Matin’s academic ability to be sufficient.”
“Then let the kid do what he wants.”
Since he was done with his report, Fabian withdrew, and Hugo picked up the custody document that he had placed by the side for a while.
He started to get up, then he sat back down and opened another drawer. A small browning old envelope lay displayed on the base of the drawer. It was the only thing inside the wide drawer.
He sat, hesitant for a very long time. He stretched out his hand to the envelope several times but always stopped within reach. He sucked in a deep breath then he grabbed the envelope.
And he walked out of his office holding a thick envelope with documents and a small old envelope.