<<Hey, myself of 20 years ago. Yes, you, the swine noble who doesn’t have any friends and is always alone.>>
The handwriting was unmistakably Herbert’s own.
Plus, that way of talking was very much like his.
Aside from the mystery of how a letter from his future self reached him, everything made sense.
Even so, at the part where the writer called him the ‘swine noble’, Herbert got irritated and almost burned the letter.
The letter sender seemed to have foreseen that though.
<<Are you going to run away from reality and burn this letter? You’ll regret doing that for the rest of your life, you know. But worry not, for I am your ally.>>
“Like hell you are! If you’re really my ally, you wouldn’t call me swine noble!”
<<It’s because I am your ally that I am stern with you. Right now, you have no one to tell you off and that’s why you’ve become rotten. Continue that and you’ll lose everything important to you. But, well, listen,>>
It was as though Herbert was having a conversation with the letter sender.
It was as though the sender knew exactly what Herbert was thinking.
The sender has been right on the mark with each line, rendering Herbert speechless.
Herbert kept making faces though, so Kevin couldn’t help but look at him with worry. Herbert simply told the older man that it was nothing and continued reading the letter.
<<Firstly, let me explain. I am you 20 years into the future. I used spacetime magic and sent this letter to the past, your present. As for why I did absolutely everything I could to achieve this power, it’s solely so that you can live a happy life.>>
When Herbert read those words, he unconsciously took a big gulp.
It was an unorthodox magic that was said to have been wielded by a sage before, but no one has been able to do the same in recent history.
According to the legend, the sage Merlin managed to seal away an evil Demon Lord thanks to this magic.
However, the stories handed down through the ages all seemed so fantastical that everybody just dismissed them as fiction.
There was [Inventory] which allowed one to store an infinite amount of things; [Warp] which allowed the user to move somewhere in an instant; and also [Time Leap] which allowed the travel to the past and the rewriting of history.
Each one was just too absurd.
Yet, Herbert has witnessed one of those powers with his very own eyes.
Spacetime magic explained the letter from the future all too well.
Upon accepting that, he trembled and panted from excitement.
He had the talent to wield that legendary spacetime magic! The same magic wielded by that sage! One of the strongest type of unorthodox magic!
If, if I can master this power too, then everyone…!
<<You must be thinking you’re celebrated once you became a sage…well, that’s not the case at all. If you want to know why, it’s your rotten attitude. The reason no one’s by your side is not because you lack power, it’s because you don’t even make the slightest effort to be liked.>>
“Bullshit! I have a rotten attitude!? As if!”
<<No one tells you this because you’re the heir to a ducal household. Herbert, let me, your future self, tell you what no one else can: your charm as a human is nonexistent. You’re going to pay for that attitude of yours soon. Speaking of which, let me tell you about your near future, Herbert von Unruh.>>
Herbert was unable to refute.
Even if he didn’t agree, the fact of the matter was no one was by his side.
Furthermore, it was his future self who said so, so he had little choice but to accept it.
“But…there’s just no way this will happen…”
But he still couldn’t believe the string of characters that described his imminent future.
It was all so ridiculous, it had to be some kind of joke.
<<You will lose your duel and be disinherited. Then, your engagement with Nell will be canceled, and before long, Kevin will die. You will, of course, try to get everything back…but the effort will take you 20 long years. And while I think I’ve done the best I could have, I also think I have lost more things than I’ve gained.>>
Herbert was an Element Master, so it should have been impossible for him to lose to someone who wasn’t.
It should also have been impossible for him to be disinherited.
Nor should it have been possible for his betrothal to Nell, something that has been in place ever since they were kids, to be canceled just like that.
And Kevin. How could he die so soon when he was so full of life!?
“There’s no way…”
However, as much as he tried, he couldn’t prove that those events were impossible.
Rather, once he thought about it properly, evidence supporting the prediction came up one after the other.
There was the mystery of why the princess has shown interest in Marlon despite the latter being a mere commoner.
There was also the fact that his father has been looking at him recently with cold, discerning eyes.
And also, Nell has always been turning down his invitations to gatherings.
No one might have told him off, but deep down, he knew how horrible he really was.
The reason he pushed the thought down was that if he admitted it, he was afraid he would crumble to pieces.
But now that his future self was making him confront the issue, he began to think about it in earnest.
If he was no longer the heir to his ducal household, the only person in the world who would accept him…
“D…damn it…It’s only me…just me…!”
Herbert was unable to hold back his tears.
He fell down on the ground on all fours and made a fist. The letter on his hand got crumpled and even got stained by his tears.
The pressure and the conceit born from being the heir has certainly led him astray. But even on the rare occasions where he tried to change, his corrupt self didn’t allow it.
As a result, he now stood to lose everything the following day.
The letter made too much sense for him to continue doubting it. It really was from his future self.
“Herbert-sama, please take this handkerchief.”
He had no idea why, but apparently, he would lose even Kevin who was so kind.
Apparently, everything important to him would slip through his fingers.
Even if he regrets it now, it was just too late.
Unlike his future self, he had no power that could change the past.
Even so, he wracked his brain on what he should do to avoid that fate.
He was unable to come up with any answers, but he realized that the clue to one lied in what he held in his hand.
He had been scared of facing his hideous self. Frankly, he didn’t want to know more about such a dark and doomed future.
However, what scared him much, much more was the thought that he could lose everything. He had no desire to lose Nell or Kevin.
And so, Herbert continued to read the letter.
Just like before, his future self seemed to see through his thoughts and emotions. This time though, his future self offered words of comfort.
It irritated Herbert that the sender knew him that much, but if the sender really was his ally, there was no one more dependable.
<<I figure you’re regretting things by now. But don’t worry, Herbert. As long as you never forget that feeling, you’ll still have a future. All you’ll have to do is start over. Sure, it’ll be an uphill battle…but you’re a super awesome guy, right?>>
The hand that held the letter was filled with power.
Earlier, it was so that he could crumple it and avoid reading further.
So, what was the reason he held it tightly now? Herbert himself wasn’t entirely sure.
But he knew something inside him has changed. He now had a burning passion for the possible future that lied ahead.
This greatly manifested in his beautiful, blue eyes.
<<So, let’s beat Marlon and change the future, shall we? Don’t worry, you have me, the kingdom’s second ever sage.>>
Included in the letter were instructions on what Herbert should do from now on.
How the duel would unfold; how to fight Marlon; how to use spacetime magic; and what kind of training he should be doing.
It was already four in the afternoon though. There wasn’t much time until his duel the following day.
Strangely enough, Herbert didn’t feel anxious.
“Sorry, but can you contact Rodeo. Tell him to train with me 3 hours from now.”
“Yes—certainly! I’ll go tell him at once!”
Kevin noticed the change in Herbert’s facial expression after the latter read the letter.
He was reminded of when Herbert was still called a prodigy, when he was truly confident of himself, when he was more passionate than everyone else.
Herbert-sama…this old man had been waiting all these years for you to have that look again.
Kevin thought so as he hurried to call Rodeo, House Unruh’s chief military officer.
Kevin was usually the kind of person to keep their calm, but right now, he sprinted as fast as he could, not minding the cloud of dust he left in his trail.
He cared enough as a butler to wipe the tears that fell while he was running though.
“Oi, Rodeo, come here! Herbert-sama’s—”
“…the young master? I hope I don’t get wrongly blamed for something again.”
“Fufufu…think what you like for now.”
“What happened, Kevin? Why are you making a face like you’re so happy?”
Rodeo, who was practice swinging his sword by himself in the barracks, frowned but still chose to listen to what Kevin had to say.
After that, despite being only half convinced, Rodeo agreed to practice with Herbert.
Tl note: the sage’s name, マリリン, can be transliterated as Marilyn. But, I mean, it’s gotta be Merlin, right?
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