Agedilus’s earliest memory was darkness. Darkness where no light ever shone. In that memory, he spent his days in that darkness, not knowing what the word black meant. Real black, not the kind you see when you close your eyes. The seal that emitted a purple light sometimes protected his eyesight in exchange for stealing his freedom.
He could cry and scream but no one would come. In the midst of that darkness, he had a thought once. That there couldn’t possibly be a life more meaningless than this. He thought that at least until the day his adoptive father rescued him from that darkness.
Agedilus didn’t know the name of the family he was born in. I don’t think it mattered to him. Since the day his adoptive father appeared, opening the door that had been sealed countless times, held him up and said, 「From today onwards, your name is Agedilus. Agedilus Von Lancent,」 his surname had been Lancent.
He figured out he had been born in a noble family from hearing the whispered rumours and loud backbiting in front of him. His parents were afraid of his jet black hair – in other words, the strength of his magical power – and sealed him off deep within the house. And then, they were pushed by his adoptive father, whose power stood out even among the 「Black Hairs」, or so he heard.
But so what? At a glance, his situation should have been pitied. Or maybe it should have been laughed at. But his adoptive father was wonderful enough to make up for his miserable conditions. Agedilus wasn’t displeased in the slightest when people said 『he’s been abandoned by his real parents』. When he thought of his adoptive father, he was in fact grateful, 『 they abandoned me, thankfully』.
After having been taken out of that room with that strong seal, he was taken just like that to the Lancent Estate. He couldn’t thank his adoptive father enough for patiently teaching him – he, who couldn’t even read the alphabet properly let alone words – the meaning of 『I’m alive』. Although his adoptive father said, 「You learn so well because you have an amazing memory, don’t you?」 he couldn’t help but think he was extraordinarily determined to be a widower raising a malnutritioned child all by himself without any servants or anyone.
And then, Agedilus finally learned letters and words, learned how to talk, and began to mold into 『himself』.
Agedilus met the one who would become his fiancée, Filmina Veer Adina, the first time he visited the Adina Estate with his adoptive father.
If I were to be honest, by that time the feelings of ‘misanthropy’ and disliking humans had already been instilled in him. It might have been different from exact misanthropy, since his foster father was a human, but that still seemed like the most appropriate word for it. It goes without saying why he felt like that. He could never have liked people who always stiffened their face right after they saw him, as if they were looking at something scary….. As if they’d definitely seen a demon of some sort.
The only person who wasn’t afraid of his appearance was his foster father. The only one who would reach out to him unflinchingly was his foster father. The only one who would call out to him without worrying was his foster father.
That’s how he thought it was, and that’s how he thought it was going to be, so he thought he was fine with things staying like that. At this point, Agedilus had long stopped hoping for any better. And yet.
And yet, the one that utterly broke down his walls was a girl named Filmina Veer Adina.
I dare say Agedilus will never forget the time they first met his entire life.
At the sight of his black hair, men and women of all ages would feel a kind of fear. That instinct had already been etched into his soul. Filmina’s parents, who’d been told about this beforehand, were the only two to have enough generosity to refrain from such behavior. But her brother, who knew nothing, looked startled to see him. And yet she, his older sister, widened her eyes and said, 「Beautiful…」 Just what was she thinking?
And she didn’t just stop there, no. She took a step forward, and Agedilus forgot all the words he’d just learned. She took his hands and said, 「I am Filmina Veer Adina, pleased to meet you!」
It was the first time he felt the hand of a girl the same age as him, dainty to the point it felt like it might break any second. Too overwhelmed and surprised by how warm and soft it was, he instinctively shook it off. That was the first time he felt the emotion regret, thinking, 「Did I break it?」 He was surprised at himself for it. She cracked a troubled, grown-up smile.
When he was left alone in the Adina Estate’s courtyard with her, he had no idea what to do. He didn’t know what he was thinking as she immediately took up place at the bench, starting to read a book, as if completely leaving him alone.
He would have been grateful for that, usually. He much preferred being simply ignored than to be awkwardly feared of and detested, or to be fawned over and flattered.
And yet, why? Why wasn’t it fun when she did it? How strange, how mysterious. Even those feelings lost to his sense of curiosity, and he approached her to see the entry in the book she was reading… Namely 『About Magical Power and Physical Appearance』, blown off as soon as he started reading it.
He thought, ‘now once she finishes reading it, she’ll definitely be scared of me too’. Like everyone was, before her. And then the second he was about to leave, she said this.
「Um, Sir Agedilus? Why don’t we read this from the beginning together?」
That was the beginning.