Lehman’s father, Count Anthony Karr, was quite an austere man, and he wasn’t very flashy.
It’s not that he was indifferent to his family, but at the same time, he also never showed that much affection because he wished to act as much of an aristocrat as he could be.
So when Lehman was young, he always looked forward to the one day a year that his father would get uncharacteristically drunk off his feet—completely inebriated as he went back home.
And the reason behind this was simple. Because Lehman’s father, who was not very affectionate and rarely ever held his children, would never fail to hug Lehman and put the child on his lap on this day.
“Our Lehman. Our smart Lehman. Our good Lehman.”
As he sat on his father’s lap, the strong scent coming from his father was something that the young Lehman found very strange, but even this was precious to him.
“Lehman. Our smart Lehman. Our Lehman, who’ll be so much more of a man than his father.”
His father’s facial hair would prick Lehman’s soft cheeks when he received kisses, but he was still happy.
“My wonderful son. My son, I’m sorry that you’re this father’s son. I love you.”
He was so happy to receive all the affection that his father would pour out with such abundance once a year.
So, Lehman kept looking forward to the day that his father would get drunk once a year.
Well, that was until his older brother, Martin, laughed derisively at him.
“Even though you’re creepily smart, you’re still a baby, huh? Don’t you even know why Father drinks so much on that particular day?”
As the mocking question was asked, Lehman only shook his head. His older brother proceeded to snicker.
“He drinks like that because he fails to get a promotion every single year. He’s not drinking just to say how much you’re oh so lovely.”
The shocking, but sad truth was revealed to him that day.
Lehman still could not forget that day.
“Let me tell you something, Lehman. There’s such a thing as an invisible threshold in this world. A threshold that can’t be overcome by mere capability alone.”
How could he ever forget the way that his older brother’s voice sounded—as calm as it could be, but still containing grief and frustration—while he smiled lightly as though he had completely given up.
That voice, that expression, and… that undeniable truth.
Lehman would never, ever forget.
This was the turning point that completely changed his life.
And it soon became a key component to his overall outlook on life.
* * *
“Young Master Lehman… You should go out and meet your friends.”
“Or take a stroll…”
“I don’t have time for that.”
“But if you only keep staying in your room like this—”
“I’ll take care of myself. Stop and just leave.”
The firm reply made the butler sigh heavily.
Lehman was the great talent that the entire Karr County was paying attention to.
Perhaps that’s why. He also had good looks that made him popular, but despite all that, he never really talked to people his age. He never even attended a single ball before.
‘But if you just keep working without rest like that, you might collapse, and it might be difficult for you to recover…’
“Young Master, please don’t—”
“I told you to shut up and leave me be. I have to finish reading these books by today.”
He read 「 Economic History 」 in two days.
He reviewed 「 Principles of Primary Education 」 in four days.
And he read a third of 「 An Analysis of the Correlation between the School of Utta and the School of Chethlas 」 within ten days.
Lehman pushed himself to do all this as if he was being chased by someone.
A forlorn sigh left the butler’s lips.
The young master was at an age when he’s supposed to be thriving brightly under the sun. However, he was secluded completely from the world, confined to only this dark room… How could this not be worrying?
Who would be able to help Lehman?
“…I understand,” the butler said.
Eventually, he left behind the refreshments he brought for Lehman, then went out the door.
“There is a maid on standby, Young Master. Please call her whenever you’d like to eat.”
As the butler closed the door behind him, a blanket of silence fell upon the room. However, this silence was broken not long after, once again scattering Lehman’s concentration.
“What the. Are you studying again?”
Lehman’s older brother entered the room without knocking on the door first. Looking behind him, Lehman glared at his brother coldly.
“Are you incapable of being polite at all?”
He was greeted with such a prickly welcome, but Martin only laughed shamelessly and plopped down on the sofa.
“You’re the one who’s supposed to be polite towards me.”
“If you have nothing to say, get out.”
Lehman shot a hostile glare at the disruptor’s figure, who was now sitting on his couch. Nevertheless, Martin crossed his legs and made himself comfortable.
“Yeah, I have nothing to say, but I won’t leave.”
As Lehman scoffed, Martin continued speaking as he fixed his eyes on the ceiling.
“I just feel like Father’s about to give me another good scolding.”
Was it because Lehman was otherwise born with an abundance of talent? Martin was beyond any help. He had no talents at all, to the point that it’s difficult to believe that they’re brothers.
‘So because you’re a good-for-nothing, now you’re just hellbent on causing trouble?’
In any case, this had nothing to do with Lehman.
Ignoring the disruptor without skipping a beat, Lehman turned his attention back to the book he was reading, which was 「 Theories of Pedagogy 」 this time.
“Wooow. Our Lehman is already studying up on theories? As expected of the family’s prized prodigy.”
Martin somehow read the title of the book Lehman was reading from where he was—perhaps his eyesight was uselessly good—and clapped mockingly.
“If you’re just here to cause trouble, get out.”
Lehman nearly growled out the words, but Martin only chuckled.
“Good grief. Okay! I shall humbly listen to what House Karr’s shining light says!”
Lehman scowled slightly as his older brother was trying to get a rise out of him again.
And Martin did not miss this. He jumped from his seat and came near Lehman, hanging around him now.
Martin hummed out of nowhere, then spoke again.
“It’s no use studying so hard like that.”
The hand that was in the middle of turning a page stopped.
“Do you think that Father can’t get the Education Minister position because he doesn’t have the skill for it?”
“Or do you think it’s because he’s not good enough, and that’s why the people of House Chantra have been constantly pushing him back?”
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