Chapter 626: The Stink of a Demon
Eiro looked at the boy who raised his hand; he looked just like a normal person, and he clearly wasn’t using any sort of magic to disguise himself either. Rather than being a full demon, this boy most likely just had demonic blood flowing through his veins.
“Zeke Redbrow, was it?” Eiro asked. He had been given a list of the students’ names together with some simple descriptions, and from what he could tell, that was the only person it could be. Surprised, Zeke nodded his head, “Erm… yeah. I was told I didn’t need to do this part.”
“Hm, that so~?” with a light smile, Eiro looked at him. He wasn’t lying, so it was fine. Even if he had been lying, it’s not like Eiro could just have some random child reveal to everyone that he has an aptitude for unholy magic; that was like a death sentence. Not in the literal sense, of course. In Skyhart, it was illegal to discriminate against any person for whatever reason, so officially, there would be nothing done against someone with an aptitude for unholy magic. But that didn’t mean that every single individual was particularly keen on following those laws when it came to something considered so clearly ‘evil’ like unholy magic, “Well, that’s fine. Do come briefly speak to me after class though. As for everyone else, I will call your names in alphabetical order, so please come down here when you hear your name.”
The rest of the class proceeded relatively normally. There were a handful of people that had surprising levels of aptitudes, there was even one that had a fairly rare aptitude, but for the most part it wasn’t anything noteworthy. That’s why Eiro couldn’t wait for the end of the class so that he could talk one-on-one with Zeke.
Soon enough, the boy stood right in front of Eiro. He looked mostly like an average sixteen year-old, with the exception of the slight red tint to his black hair, “What did you want to talk about, Sir?”
“Your aptitude, of course,” Eiro said bluntly, and Zeke looked back confused, “Wait, but I thought I didn’t have to do that thing…”
“Oh, I think you’re misunderstanding. That was for yourselves, so that you can know what your aptitudes are, and so that I can properly quantify it by the standards of this academy. But I already knew all of your aptitudes from the beginning.”
Zeke’s face went pale as he took a step back. Of course, Eiro understood why. Eiro was rather famous amongst the people living in this town, and it was a known fact that he could use holy magic. A demon’s descendant would obviously make sure to know everyone that could be a threat to them so easily. While Zeke seemed to be a person in the system’s eyes, he probably wouldn’t get away unscathed when hit with a large amount of holy magic.
“Th-That, I-” Zeke stuttered nervously, but Eiro just smiled at him, “Don’t be so nervous, I won’t tell anyone. Having unholy magic isn’t that big a deal.”
Despite Eiro’s words, Zeke was clearly still nervous, so the Demon let out a deep sigh, “Haah… Kid, you’re not the only one with unsavory magic at this school. And you’re certainly not the only one with secrets at this school, trust me. If I told you even a single secret of mine, you’d feel silly for even worrying about anything at all.”
“…” Zeke looked up at Eiro and scratched the back of his neck, “So what is it you want to talk about? Just that you… know?”
“Well, to an extent. But also to figure out your study program with you. For others with more normal aptitudes, it’s easy, but since we have to keep yours a secret, it’s a bit more complicated. I’ll make sure to assign you a private study room. It costs a little each week, but I can just pay for you, it’s not that much. As for your track, you can go either for-”
“Wait, wait, I don’t- I don’t want to study unholy magic, I just want to-”
“Kid, you’re going to study unholy magic. Not because I say so, but because you’ll die if you don’t. If you were a normal person, you’d have the choice, sure, but not with your bloodline.”
“H-how do you know..?” fear written all over his face, Zeke didn’t know what he should do, but Eiro simply sat down on his chair and leaned back, “You think I wouldn’t recognize the stink of demon blood? Sorry, but Demon blood is at the top of the disgusting-smell ranking, second only to goblin blood. Obviously, a normal person can’t smell it, but I can. Don’t worry about being discovered by others,” Eiro tried to say reassuringly, “Just because you’ve got a bit of monster blood in you doesn’t mean you’re a bad kid, I know that. But it does mean that things work differently for you.”
Zeke swallowed the lump in his throat, “What do you mean?”
“…Demons are beings of desire and sin, that’s a fact that can’t be changed. And a demon’s unholy magic is basically the essence of those sins. For normal people, it’s just a magic centered around applying curses, but for someone with demon blood, it’s a beast that can go out of control at a moment’s notice,” Eiro explained quickly, “Right now, you have little to no skill in magic whatsoever, and a minuscule mana pool. If you were to only study fire magic, your mana pool would grow, and with your increased skill, the power of all your magic would increase. But just because power increases doesn’t mean your control does too. If you one-sidedly study fire magic, your unholy magic is going to become too strong for you to control very quickly, and your demonic blood is going to take control of you. That’s why you don’t have a choice in this matter.”
“…I never heard of something like that.”
“Of course. There’s barely any people with demon blood around, so it would surprise me if it was common knowledge,” Eiro pointed out, “I’m not telling you to focus on unholy magic, just that you need to use techniques to increase your control over unholy magic while leaving its power mostly alone. There’s some techniques for that, and albeit finicky, they’re perfect for this sort of situation.”
“Oh.. I…” Zeke replied. It seemed like this whole conversation was a lot for him to take. And so, Eiro stood up and guided him to the door, “Take a few days to think about it. When you make your decision, come back to me, though I really wouldn’t wait too long.”
“See you in our next class, then,” Eiro said with a smile, sending Zeke off, before shutting the door. A broad grin formed on the Demon’s face. If he still had a heart, it would be beating like crazy right about now.
Bavet noticed this too, and whispered into his ear, “That kid was a demon? The hell’s going on?”
“I don’t know either, Bavet. This is either fate playing a prank on me, a gift from the universe, or the ploy of a guy I really want to kill. Whichever it is, I’m grateful that Zeke is here at this school.”
“…I’m not following,” the slime replied confusedly, “I get that you haven’t met another ‘real’ demon before, only those versions created by the Monster King, but isn’t that a slightly weird reaction?”
“No, you don’t get anything at all, Bavet. It’s not that I’m excited to meet another demon, which sure, I am, but that kid isn’t even full-blooded, so I don’t really care about that aspect.”
“Just fucking tell me already you riddling dickhead,” Bavet grumbled out, “How do you get more annoying the smarter you get?”
Eiro grinned broadly, to the point where he was barely able to keep his cheeks from splitting open, “Bavet, you realize that Zeke isn’t actually the first demon I’ve met, right?”
“Eh? But it is, isn’t it?”
“You seriously forgot about the one being that caused us both so much trouble? I know he goes by another name, but he’s still a demon, you know?”
Bavet seemed to slowly realize who Eiro meant. For some reason, he had seemed so disconnected from demons, as if he was his own existence altogether, “Okay, so, Zeke isn’t the first Demon you’ve met, so what? What does ‘he’ have to do with this?”
“Everything, Bavet. Absolutely everything. You know, Demon blood actually doesn’t smell that bad. It’s just that I hate the smell of that one guy so much that it drags all others down with him. And Zeke just stinks like him so, so much. Zeke has the blood of the Devil flowing through his veins.”