Zich walked on a thickly carpeted hallway.
As expected of a noble family, there were luxurious decorations on both sides of the wall. However, they didnt quite match the status of a Count. It looked as if the owner had kept the number of decorations to a minimum to match their status, and all of these things hinted at the character of the castles master.
However, Zich didnt care for the decorations around him and was lost deep in thought.
Is it my father
His father was someone whom he had forgotten after leaving the family.
He probably wants to talk to me about how I beat up that servant and knight.
Considering the order of events, Zich was not at fault. He did injure them a bit more than necessary, but if his family considered the way the servant and knight had disrespected him, Zich was not at fault. This was especially true for the servant; he deserved to have his neck cut off.
That would have been the normal thing to do.
Unfortunately, his family would not show the bare minimum of what wasnormal to him. In the past, this was the reason why Zich left his family.
Zich stopped before a door with an engraving of a wolfs fierce-looking face. Next to the door, soldiers stood by with their swords.
Zich tilted his head at them.
Thud! Thud! Thud!
One of the soldiers knocked on the door.
“My Lord, Sir Zich has arrived.”
“Let him come in.”
A low and grave voice seeped out through the door.
“Please go inside, sir.”
The soldier went back to his original spot, and Zich stared at the door for a moment.
I remember I used to have a hard time going through this door.
Zich couldnt remember his past well. He was basically a different person now, and he didnt have even the slightest bit of fear as he pushed the door open.
The first figure Zich saw was an old man with a wire-like silver beard, sitting on a big chair. The mans large eyes and stubborn-looking lips stood out to him, and Zich knew that this man was his father and the castles master, Count Steelwall.
The Count wasnt the only person in the room. Knight Byner and the servant were also standing beside the Count, and they were completely healed and fine, as if they had been healed with an expensive potion or treated by a rare healer.
There were other people.
Its my mother and younger brother.
Even with the faint lines around her eyes and mouth, his mother, Florelle Steelwall, was a beauty; and holding his mothers arms was his younger brother, Greig Steelwall, with his reddish-brown hair and smooth face. It was because of them that even a servant treated Zich poorly.
But I cant only blame them—
Zich focused his gaze on the Count again.
Since all of this wouldnt have happened without his approval.
The master dictated how his family operated, meaning that Zichs poor treatment was what his father also wanted.
The Counts piercing eyes stared at Zich. If it had been the original Zich, he would have lowered his gaze and given a polite greeting. But Zich was different now. He stood up straight and continued to meet the Counts eyes.
The Counts eyebrows moved.
“…Did you even forget how to say a basic greeting”
The Counts voice was quiet but filled with rage. If it were Zich as theDemon Lord of Strength, he wouldve laughed at the Counts rage and smashed the Counts head on the desk, but surprisingly, Zich bowed his head—however, even that was just a slight tilt.
The Count moved his eyebrows even further.
He must be annoyed.
Zich stopped moving. He thought about messing up everything like he would have done as the Demon Lord, but he decided against it. It was impossible to do that with the body he had right now. For hundreds of years, the Steelwalls were a distinguished family that protected the kingdom from foreign attacks. Their force was one of the greatest in the kingdom.
Besides, Zich still needed to decide how to live his new life. He didnt want to screw things up from the beginning. Of course, Zichs standards forscrewing up differed from the norm, but still.
“Look at him, my lord. This child hasnt changed his ways. Havent I told you He wont even show basic etiquette anymore. This child has always disrespected his mother and brother, and he is now disrespecting his own father! How far will his audacity go!”
Wow. Look at her go.
Watching his mother—no, his stepmother drip crocodile tears, Zich laughed inside his head.
Greig added in his comments, “Father and Mother. Brother must be a bit tired. Im sure he doesnt truly have any ill intentions.”
Like peas in a pod.
Zich felt like bursting into laughter at his brothers pretentious reply. Zichs family was complicated, but could be explained simply in some ways. The current Countess had entered the family after his mothers death, and his half-brother was born afterwards. In short, the Countess wished for her own son to become the next heir instead of the eldest son.
Even a cheap, third-rate novel wouldnt be this cliché.
But this was reality for Zich.
“What do you have to say to that”
The Counts voice became rougher, possibly as a result of Greigs words. However, Zich had no intention of calming his fathers rage.
“What do you want me to say”
Zich didnt even attempt to hide his rebellious tone. Everyone, including the Count, was surprised. They always thought that Zich Steelwall was a timid person who was especially obedient to the Count, but that had actually been Zichs way of crying for attention and help from his father in his abandoned state.
But that doesnt matter to me anymore.
The Count slammed the table with his fist. Everyone in the room flinched at the Counts rage, but Zich remained calm.
“Your manners were the only thing satisfactory about you, but now you are throwing away your one saving grace! How are you going to inherit the familys name with that kind of rotten mindset!”
“Are you even planning on making me the heir”
The Count became speechless after hearing Zichs unexpected response. Bystanders stared at the exchange in shock.
“Of course! You are the oldest after all! It is only natural for me to appoint you as the heir, but of course, as long as you have no flaws!”
Zich could feel discontentment in the Counts voice, even though the Count sounded like he was siding with Zich. He even added the part about no flaws.
And he will choose what kind of flaw that is.
With exaggerated movements, Zich bent his back.
“To think that our respectful father was so fair in his thoughts. Hearing this, your lacking son feels like he is flying in the heavens.”
Extreme praise was equivalent to sarcasm, and the Counts face reddened. But it wasnt the Count who reacted first.
“How can you show such impudence toward your father! Apologize to him immediately!”
The Countess shrieked.
“How did I act rudely to my father, whom I admire with all my heart There must have been a misunderstanding.”
To top it off, Zich added another word.
The Countess, who was about to continue, shut her mouth. With wide eyes, she moved her eyes from side to side.
“Mother Is that what you just said”
“Yes, Father. I always used the termCountess, but doesnt that sound too distant Dont you also think so, Mother”
The Countesss expression completely fell. It looked as if there was a disgusting bug in front of her, but Zich continued, “Mother, you look pale. Mother, are you hurting anywhere Mother, should I call the physician”
The Countess flinched every time Zich called herMother. As if she was eating a bitter fruit, her cheeks kept twitching, but Zich found amusement in this and continued to include Mother in every line. The Countess knew that it was on purpose, but she couldnt say anything. After all, he was also supposed to be her son; there was no way she could stop him from calling her Mother.
“I-I am fine. I am not hurting anywhere.”
“Dear Mother, Im relieved that you are fine. But Mother, just in case, please get an examination by a physician. I dont think I will be at peace until then, Mother.”
As if something was stuck in her throat, the Countess began to look pale. Then, the Count made a fake cough and ended Zichs teasing.
“…Do you know why I called you here today”
The Count scanned Zichs expression. Zich seemed different from his usual self.
“It probably has something to do with those two, right”
Zich pointed at the servant and the knight.
“Yes. About what you did to—!”
“I sincerely apologize, Father.”
Zich bowed his head. His polite apology completely contrasted his rebellious attitude from a moment ago. The Count was left speechless at Zichs sudden change in attitude—what Zich did afterward surprised him even more.
“Im sorry for bothering you because I didnt clean up my mess properly. From now on, I will take care of matters like this more properly.”
Zich began to move, and everyone stared at him. He was heading towards the corner of the room where a decorative sword was hanging with an X marked on top of it.
As expected of a military family, even the edge of a decorative sword was sharp. Zich turned around while holding the sword.
Byner and Greig positioned themselves in front of the Count and the Countess with their swords raised.
“What are you doing!”
As he screamed, the Counts face was as red as a tomato.
“Didnt I tell you Im going to clean up my mess.”
“What do you mean, mess!”
After tilting his sword toward the ground, Zich pointed at the servant with his free hand.
“Isnt it obvious I have to slice off the neck of a servant who dares to insult a noble.”
The Counts eyes were bloodshot, but Zich confidently tilted his head.
“Huh Isnt that why you called me I thought you called me to finish off the guys who dared to insult the great Steelwalls—Legitimate. Blood. Heir.”
Zich included Byner, who was now looking at him in disbelief.
“I already dealt with them personally, so I didnt want to make this situation any bigger, but I guess it cant be helped if you are not satisfied. Now that I think about it, my punishment was way too light. I mean, arent they the ones who dared to insult the great Steelwalls Legitimate. Blood. Heir Father, please dont worry. I will neatly slice their heads off and hang them in front of the castle walls. ”