When the boy opened his eyes he knew something was different. The walls of his room seemed a bit...vibrant? His bed felt a lot softer and woolly in fabric. The smell of the air had a unique wooden like scent to it, a stark contrast to his dusty concrete apartment flat. What's more, there was a man in a suit looking down at him with a smile.
“Good morning young master!”
A bright voice hit his ears. The boy squinted his eyes as the other man opened the curtains, which sent a ray of sunlight that blinded his view.
“What’s the matter, young master? You usually like sunlight.”
The man with bushy orange hair looked worriedly at the boy who squinted his eyes in displeasure. The boy touched his face, feeling the soft skin of a child unlike his own. His wrists were skinny and scarless.
‘Am I dreaming?’
“Young Master Basen?”
The man with orange hair asked again, tilting his head in confusion.
“Basen? Basen Henituse?”
“Y-yes, what seems to be the issue?”
The boy scratched his chin.
‘I guess that guy is me.’
He remembered the novel [Birth of a Hero] that he read last night. If his memories had served him right then, Basen Henituse was a super minor character, his only relevance was that he would be the next count instead of the trash son Cale Henituse. Kim Rok Soo nodded at this.
‘This means I won’t be any relevance to the story.’
The only issue was Basen being the most likely candidate for the title of Count. He scoffed at the thought.
‘Don’t Counts need to read paperwork and manage the lands? Sounds tiresome.’
He didn’t want to be the Count at all, that title meant nothing to him, it would only be a leash that ties him to the office table. He looked over at the man who was beside him. It was probably a butler.
“The head Butler’s name is Ron right?”
“Excuse me? Um, young master are you asking me?”
“Who else do I ask?”
The boy crossed his arms with an expressionless face. He continued on without giving the butler a chance to reply.
“Ron has a son who is our chef, Beacrox. My mother is Violan Henituse and my father is Deruth Henituse. I have a little sister named Lily and an older brother named Cale. Correct?”
The butler was stunned. He had never seen the young master act so strangely. If it was the young master Cale it would be possible since he was a tyrant, but it was bizarre to see Basen act in this way. The butler gave a worried look.
“Also what is your name?”
The butler’s legs almost gave out.
‘What is my name? Young master Basen...did you forget me after I served you for so long?’
“Young master...are you okay…”
The butler held in the urge to cry and tried taking things professionally. If it was something serious like memory loss then they would need to call in a doctor immediately.
“I’m fine, can you bring me a cup of cold water?”
“Ah...Yes of course.”
The butler crookedly slugged out of the room, obviously sad about the young master not calling him by his name. However, the boy didn’t notice it. He got out of bed and walked into the washroom. There was a small round mirror near the sink, giving him a good view of his new appearance.
“I really am Basen.”
The boy in the mirror was indeed Basen Henituse from [Birth of a Hero], the book was always super descriptive of their characters, even for minor characters like Basen. The boy was described to be average in looks with droopy eyes, he had brown hair and eyes. Nothing about Basen popped out as extremely handsome but Kim Rok Soo thought the boy had some potential. He couldn’t be sure, however, since Basen was still young.
Basen touched the reflection of himself with the tips of his fingers, confirming that what happened to him was really reality.
‘Alright, I have at least 3 years before the Count title is passed to me. I’ll need to think of a way to throw it away to someone else.’
He thought about it carefully. Basen was obviously the best pick, his little sister was far too young and also a woman, and his older brother was complete trash. He remembered the novel mentioning about Cale’s unique behaviour as a trash.
Apparently, he only targetted gangsters and hated ill doings. Perhaps the punk had a strong vision of justice, even though half the time he wasn’t any better than the gangsters themselves. That didn’t matter to Basen, he just needed someone to take his spot. It was worth giving a try.
After a quick morning shower, Basen opened his wardrobe. There was nothing fashionable about his clothes, his style seemed simple and bland. Basen smiled at the previous owner’s tastes as it was the same as his. He picked a random outfit and started to change. A light knock came from the door.
“Young master, may I come in?”
It must have been the butler from earlier, his voice sounded a bit more muddled but Basen brushed it off as the door blocking the sound. An older looking man entered with a benign smile. Basen flinched in terror as he watched the butler walk in.
‘He must be Ron.’
Basen could feel the man’s dark aura spiralling behind him.
“I brought you a glass of cold water.”
“Ah yes, thank you.”
Basen tried to hide his shaking palm and slowly took a sip of water. Ron was a dangerous man he didn’t want to approach. He remembered how vicious the assassin was in the novel.
‘I can’t get him on my nerves if I make him mad who knows what will happen to me.’
Basen sighed in relief, he was a bit glad he didn’t end up as Cale who gets beaten to a pulp by the main character.
“Are you feeling alright young master? You seem a bit tired today.”
“...I was studying a bit last night.”
Basen easily lied while putting up a fake smile. Ron returned the same smile back.
“Ah yes, you are very hardworking but please don’t overwork yourself. Breakfast is ready, I will need to call your brother soon.”
“Mm, thanks for telling me.”
Basen rushed out his room, he didn’t want to stay in the same room with the assassin a moment longer.
Lily greeted Basen with a cheery smile, she waved at him to come over and sit next to her. Basen obediently sat down and greeted his parents. Everyone didn’t touch their food yet because they were waiting for someone to arrive. This person would always come late due to his hobby of drinking out late at night.
Basen waited patiently for his brother, slightly curious on how trashy Cale would be.
The door slammed open with a loud bang. A man with bright red hair stormed in, his clothes were extremely frilly and expensive looking. He had a handsome face even though he was frowning.
“Damnit that fucking butler, always messing with me in the morning like this.”
Cale slouched in his seat, he didn’t wait for a word and began eating without care. Violan ignored Cale’s improper eating even though she was a woman of elegance. Lily’s smile disappeared and she started to nibble on her own food. Deruth looked at Cale for a bit before nodding his head and grabbing his utensils to cut his food.
Basen watched Cale with a slightly disappointed look. As of now, it would be impossible for Cale to become the count. He sliced a piece of sausage and ate it.
“Basen? What’s wrong?”
Violan looked at her son with surprise.
“Ah nothing, I think the food is really good.”
In his life as Kim Rok Soo, he never tasted something this good. This was the luxury of being rich. Basen thought of being a total slacker, being able to eat meals like this everyday and smiled brightly.
Everyone looked a little shocked at Basen’s comment. He wasn’t usually someone who would speak up about something so minimal but no one commented on it. Cale looked at his brother momentarily with a peculiar expression.
For the next few days, Basen struggled through the day. He had many classes he needed to take. He hated doing the homework assigned to him and just rushed through all of them without much care. It reminded him of his office days in his past life that he despised.
Basen checked the calendar on his desk, it was almost time for the first event. The appearance of the main character, Choi Han. He would meet Cale and soon beat him to a pulp. To uphold Cale’s last bit of reputation, it was Basen’s goal to stop this from happening.
‘If he gets into any more trouble then his chances of becoming the count would disappear.’
After making up his mind, Basen shifted all his paperwork to the side and stepped out the door.
“Young master? Is there a problem?”
“I’m going to talk to my father for a bit, don’t bother me.”
The orange-haired butler felt his heart crushing for a moment. Did the young master hate him now? He would not even call him by his name anymore. Was this what people called teenage rebellion? The butler sighed, reminiscing the once kinder Basen.
Deruth looked up from the paperwork to his second well behaved son.
“Yes, Basen what’s the matter?”
“Can I get some money?”
“I want to go out for a few days.”
“...Is there a reason why?”
“Ah well, I heard of a tea shop that is open nearby, I want to check it out.”
Deruth put down his pen, a bit more intrigued in the conversation now.
“Ho, I didn’t know you were fond of poetry. Well, I don’t have anything against it, just make sure you don’t stay out too late as your brother does.”
Deruth took out a check and handed it to Basen. Basen gave a polite smile and walked out. He touched the slip that was inside his pocket and started to sweat.
‘That’s way too much money. This house is loaded.’
It was a 10 million gallon check, for a 15-year-old boy. This father really loved recklessly spilling money to his kids, did he not even care about what Basen might’ve done with all this money? Basen chuckled evilly for a bit, he was glad he found someone he could leech off of whenever he wanted.
“You can stop here now.”
Basen gave the driver a wave telling him to stop. He stared at the shop name, [The Fragrance of Tea and Poetry]. The driver looked at Basen and smiled.
“The young master is so mature, I wish my son liked these types of things instead of fighting all day haha!”
Basen ignored the driver’s gossip and hopped off the carriage.
“You don’t have to pick me up tonight.”
“Yes don’t worry about it.”
He didn’t need to be picked up today, it was more like he would be picking up somebody else. Basen didn’t bother listening to the driver and entered the shop.
A fat man that resembled a piggy bank sat behind the counter and greeted Basen. The man’s name was Billos, he would be important for the novel later on. A few townsfolk recognised the young lord and greeted him respectfully. Unlike Cale, it was pretty rare to meet the second lord, since he spent most of his days studying, unlike the trashy brother he had.
“Hello, I’d like to take a spot on the third floor, please. Any tea is fine as long as it’s not bitter, do you have any novels or do you only have poetry?”
“Of course. We have a lot of novels as well, young master Basen.”
“I see, bring a few interesting ones.”
Basen flicked a fat golden coin onto the counter, Billos watched the coin wobble, it’s metallic sound ringing through the room. As Billos went to get the change, Basen started walking up the stairs.
“Young master Basen, what about the change?”
“It’s fine, I plan of drinking more tea later so you can keep it.”
Basen enjoyed wasting money like this without care, he went over to a table with a good view and sat down. It was a great spot to see the Northern Gate of Western City, the gate where Choi Han would jump over. Basen planned to wait for the monster’s arrival.