Chapter 29 – Good-For-Nothing
A young man sighed heavily when he heard his father calling for him from the other side of the mansion. What had he done this time? Nothing, but whatever this was about, it was still his fault.
Reluctantly, he walked through the mansion he called his home. It was filled with all the luxuries you could find inside the homes of people who clearly had far too much money. Pictures at every corner each older than himself or his entire family lineage. A single one of those was probably worth more than he could ever amount to in his life. At least that was his father's opinion of him was, and Symar started thinking he wasn't wrong.
They depicted the glorious acts of humanity's unforgotten legends. Many of them centered around Amir, the martyr that had ensured the survival of mankind when the Second End had come about. Any human would recognize his deified appearance as his sword cut through waves of demons that had tyrannized the world.
Aside from those pictures, there were far too many chandeliers that would never be used in their entirety. It didn't stop there as an enormous carpet connected the rooms across the entire building. It would be replaced each month by a different one, which led to a staggering amount of wasted money. In their case, however, that simply meant losing some small change.
Then, Symar arrived in the large entrance hall, where a staircase divided the hall into two floors. It was filled with statues, chiseled by masters of their art, showcasing the family lineage of Ranzes. From his great-great-great-something more-grandfather to the newest pedestal that was being finished. Symar didn't have to look at the contours to know who it would soon depict.
The next head of the house, his dear brother Silyn.
“There you are, you good-for-nothing!” His father, Hammon the 3rd von Ranzes, seized him by the neck like you would grip a dog when it had done something wrong. He was already used to this treatment and no longer surprised from where this old man got the strength to lift a broad sixteen-year-old this effortlessly. After all, his life-style left him slightly heavy for someone his age - not that he cared about that.
“Do you know what you have done!? No, of course, you don't! Someone like you wouldn't understand the troubles he brings to others with your mindless actions!” Hammon poured down his rage onto him, and Symar could only sigh helplessly and resign himself to his fate. Over the years, he had become well versed in pretending to listen to others and feign attention. But since there were no other distractions, he inevitably remembered some of his father's accusations as well as the unceasing flood of insults.
To put it bluntly, it was his fault that the all-important marble for his beloved son's statue was not 'white' enough. Apparently, Symar was responsible for checking up on the delivery so that something like this wouldn't happen. First he'd heard of that, really.
It took an entire two hours before Symar was gracefully allowed to return to his chambers. All the while, he cursed to himself loudly once he was out of earshot. It had become a new, meaningless habit of his to vent the frustration.
“What have I done to deserve this!? It's not my fault you knocked up some stupid maid! Don't blame me for it!!”
That stupid maid who was supposed to be his mother had not once been there in his life. After this scandal became public among the circles of the nobles, Hammon had lost a lot of his reputation. Infuriated, he let the maid go, who wasn't too dissatisfied about her treatment. Since simply dismissing her out of rage was unbecoming of a noble, Hammon had to let her go with some money, much to his nameless mother's delight. In spite of that, he chose to keep the child at his mansion.
After all, Symar carried his blood. He carried the lineage of a proud noble, and if he simply let him wander about, it would bring all sorts of trouble and shame to the family.
If Symar had to rot somewhere, it should be within the mansion where he wouldn't create any unaccounted problems. That's what his father had decided, and there was nothing he could do about. He couldn't even leave the mansion without some servants following after him. They were trained magi, unlike him, so there was no possibility of him shaking them off. In this entire mansion, he was the only person not practicing Magecraft. It wasn't a matter of his talents - his father simply wouldn't allow him to.
Arriving back in his room, Symar bottled the next load of frustration within him. His capacity for it had long quelled over, but there wasn't an outlet for it; neither was there any point in doing so. At this point, Symar was confident in his assumption that if the public didn't know of his existence, he'd have long since been killed by his very own father. A lot of enemies would love to dig up any conspiracies Hammon used to get rid of his useless son and hold it against him in public.
So, Symar had slowly and painfully come to accept this fate. There was no purpose in his life. His father would never allow him to leave and make a life of his own. Even if he swore to the gods that he'd abandon his name, nothing would change. His noble blood, the envy of many, was his own prison and his father, the jailor.
Therefore, he was no different from a luxurious prisoner. With the treatment he got, you could say that his life was, objectively speaking, not too bad. The leftover food he got was better than anything commoners would ever get to eat. His room was filled with a few books to stave off boredom and a comfortable bed to rest. It was by far the smallest room of the mansion, and yet it was as large as an entire apartment that most people lived in.
Additionally, if he behaved correctly, he'd get some women to accompany him to keep his violent tendencies at a minimum. They were carefully prepared so they could never become pregnant. However these preparations were made; they left most of them very traumatized, to say the least. Most likely, his father had grown bored with them, which led to the circumstances that birthed him. Something Hammon had repeatedly said was the greatest mistake of his life. Symar agreed.
But yes, if he behaved correctly, he'd have food, shelter, and women. Everything an animal could ask for, and so long as he was an obedient and good pet, this wouldn't change. He'd wondered whether all nobles were like his father, but how could he ever know? According to the rumors circulating among the servants, this wasn't the case, which didn't make him feel the least bit better. On the contrary, the fact that his father could possibly be the only shitty person in the world just brought him more sorrow.
“Some Benevolent he is...” For some time, his cursing included the gods in an act of blasphemy. If his father heard of it, then his punishment most definitely wouldn't end with a mere talking down to. He fell onto his bed in a trained manner, from where he saw the massive snowstorm brewing outside, covering the enormous backyard in a blanket of snow.
'Looks like he won't get his marble today...'
Symar thought before chuckling helplessly. Even in his own room, where he was somewhat free from his grasps, his thoughts drifted towards his father. Nothing would change until that man died, at which point his brother would take over the house. In other words, he might have to last an entire century until he could coinflip about Silyn's choice of treatment. At the moment, his brother was at one of the private academies, studying Magecraft. It left him wondering whether this brother of his was even aware of his existence.
How shocked would Silyn be if he suddenly found out he had a brother for the last several decades. Such meaningless thoughts accompanied him in this meaningless existence. Sometimes Symar wondered why he wouldn't just end everything himself. But would his father even allow him to do so? For a noble's son to commit suicide would surely bring a disgrace that was unwashable for centuries to come. This thought alone encouraged him to try it out, but he couldn't bring himself to do it just yet.
Was this really all there was to his existence? This mansion was his world and his prison alike. Confided like a pet in a cage, was he doomed in here to his last breath? This thought left him shuddering, and he believed that wouldn't be the case. Eventually, one of his family members would have to come to their senses and allow him to leave.
But believe and hope could easily mix together to be indistinguishable from one another, inevitably resulting in delusions and wishful thinking.
“Hm?” As he daydreamed about nothing in particular, Symar caught a glance of something lying on top of his desk. It was a book that was cloaked in an unusual cloth. He wondered whether one of the maids or butlers had brought him something to kill some time again. They did take pity on him after all and would occasionally drop by a few things. Nothing that would really help escape his predicament, but he was grateful for their kind gestures nonetheless.
“Heavy...” When Symar picked the book up, he almost let it fall to the ground, its size defying his expectations. From the way it looked, it shouldn't have more than a few hundred pages.
Carefully, he removed the cloth. He caressed the pitch-black cover with his hand, which filled him with a strange feeling. Suddenly, nothing else in the world mattered to him more than to rip open the book at once and engulf himself in its contents. With his little life experience, he wasn't able to suppress this burning desire in his heart, and he opened the first page.
The book shone brightly, painting his room in a bloody red. He raised his right arm to avoid the light blinding him, but after the red light finally subsided, the letters glowed in its place. This time he couldn't avert his gaze from the piercing light, and soon, the meaning behind the words were imprinted into his mind.
“Summoning...a devil!?” Symar huffed in exhaustion while staggering several steps back before keeling over. What was a book like this doing here?
“Devils really exist?” He muttered to himself, still unable to steady his bearings. Deep within him, he felt this burning desire urging him to continue reading. Thankfully for him, his body was unable to listen as it was too startled from the shock his mind received.
Symar took this time to think about what he knew about devils. It wasn't much. The only teachings he'd received from the different maids that took care of him was to stay away from them. Dealing with them was a fool's endeavor and would never lead to anything good.
“A fool, heh...” Symar chuckled with derision as he thought about those warnings. The world he knew already treated him as a fool, so why not continue being one? He had nothing to lose. From this short experience, Symar knew this book was the real deal. Even if he didn't want to listen to the beckoning call, he was certain he would be unable to suppress the longing in his heart for a long enough time to dispose of the book.
Thus, he embraced it.
His desire was obvious. It was all he ever wished for, and the solution appeared in front of him.
For the rest of the day, Symar entered a trance as his eyes didn't look up from the book once. His hands moved on their own, turning page after page as they imprinted themselves into his mind to be never forgotten. The maids occasionally passed by to bring over some food they left outside his door. They couldn't see the light from the outside, leaving him unbothered in his studies.
When the sun had already set, Symar finished reading the book. His mind was filled with exhaustion from the seemingly endless stream of information filling it. However, besides that, Symar was filled with a feeling he'd never felt before.
After resting for an hour, Symar went through the options he'd just learned about. In fact, there was only one option for him. Most summonings required something called an artifact. One had to find a relic which could be anything, as long as it had existed in the world before the Third Beginning. This item could then be crafted into an artifact to use as the foundation of the summoning. To perform the greatest summoning, an artifact from the time before the First End was required, which was basically non-existent in current times.
Regardless, none of that mattered to him. He had no artifact, and there was definitely no way for him to acquire one. So, he was left with the last option. It barely required any preparation except for the summoning circle that was depicted in the book. As long as it was drawn correctly with the words from the Divine Language, it didn't matter what was used as the foundation for the circle. Blood, chalk, carving it into stone, anything was possible.
Since Symar had already decided to take this chance, he didn't waste any more time. He went outside of his room and grabbed the dinner that was prepared for him. Using the kitchen-knife, he proceeded to scratch into the carpet that covered the entire room. It was an arduous process, and in the end, he could only create something that barely resembled a circle. He realized there was no way for him to delicately cut the necessary symbols into the carpet to finish the summoning circle. Distraught, he looked around the room for anything else he could use. But there was nothing.
Should he look around the rest of the mansion for some ink? Wait until the next day and carefully hint at the maids that he'd like something to use as a drawing utensil?
“...No.” He spoke to himself to gather his courage. If he didn't act now, when would he? At long last, he had this chance, and he couldn't let it slip out of his hands. He no longer knew whether this was his own genuine desire or the book influencing his actions. Regardless, Symar was utterly obsessed with the idea of this summoning ritual. Gritting his teeth, he pointed the knife towards his arm. Afraid to not pull through with his actions at the last moment, he rashly cut open his arm while closing his eyes in trepidation. A small cut would have been enough for the time being, but instead, he'd opened a large would from which blood gushed out seemingly without end.
He suppressed his painful outcry by gritting his teeth with all of his might to the point he felt like they'd almost shatter. Using the excitement and adrenaline pumping through his body, Symar finished drawing the symbols into the outer rim of the circle.
The final circle was as wide as both of his arms could stretch out, and the symbols were barely readable. To stop the bleeding, Symar hastily used one of his shirts as a replacement-bandage. The pulsating stream of blood turned out to be not as bad as he'd thought, and he slowly calmed down.
The summoning circle was finished, and there was only one thing left to. He hoped it wouldn't create too much of a commotion. In his excitement, he didn't think all of this through, but his father should be on the other side of the mansion, so it shouldn't pose a problem.
One last time Symar prepared himself and stepped inside the circle. There was no need to use a drop of blood in his case. Thus, with renewed determination, he shouted out aloud. There were no proper instructions regarding the incantation, so he just went with what seemed appropriate.
“World, hear of my desire! Make me the greatest magus, unrivaled among my kind, so that I can exact my revenge and gain the freedom I seek!"