Regressor of the Fallen Family chapter 68

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Chapter 68

“Disciple of the Superhuman?”

“A disciple of The Sword of Flame?”

“That country bumpkin truly struck gold.”

From all around, there were those who sent envious glances while murmuring among themselves, and

“Your Excellency, please grant me an opportunity to prove my valor!”

“I believe my talents are second to none!”

“I beg of you, give me a chance!”

Young men cried out, their voices tinged with jealousy.

Each of them wore fancy, fitting ceremonial clothes that highlighted their bulging muscles, indicating they were knights or nobles of similar martial prowess.

However,

“Amongst you, is there anyone who became an intermediate-grade knight at the mere age of twenty? Or possess strategies and tactics that have led their family to victory in two critical battles tied to their fate?! Above all…….”

The Count’s harsh scolding diminished the previously loud voices to a murmur.

“Even with such abilities! Who among you would brave the disgrace for the sake of your family and bow your back, selling wares personally in the capital? I, for one, am more impressed by Logan McLaine’s actions than his skills.”

The banquet hall grew silent with those final words.

The way they looked at Logan changed noticeably.

‘Why would he say that…….’

It was more than mere overpraise, as all of it was true.

However, Logan could not respond to those words right now.

The moment he shows even the slightest bit of positive acknowledgment, he would be hooked by the nose, and if he were to forcefully reject, he would provide Bifrost with an excuse for invasion.

Fortunately, Logan had a sturdy shield.

“Your words honor me, but I have already committed myself to a master.”

“Eh? Wasn’t your master your father, Baron Patrick McLaine?”

“That is not the case. Fortunately, I have been blessed with an excellent person as my master.”

“It’s the same either way. Having many mentors in life is beneficial, as is the case with martial mentors. If even The Blaze Sword, a renowned aura-user of the kingdom, becomes your new teacher, I’m sure your master would not object.”

Of course, it was a far-fetched story.

Knights were taught to regard their lord, their mentor, and their father with equal reverence.

Originally, this meant to serve one’s mentor as one would serve their sovereign, but it was also interpreted as a caution against serving multiple mentors.

The culture among knights and mages was similar in this regard.

Some mentors even restrained their disciples from serving others, fearing the leakage of secrets.

Certainly, the Count was aware of this, making it all a perfect sham.

“Unfortunately, I must decline. My master would surely not permit it.”

Logan’s flat refusal turned the Count’s face stone-cold, and the previously excited atmosphere of the banquet rapidly quieted down.

Nevertheless, the Count’s face soon returned to a smile as he continued,

“Such decisiveness and speed in the young. However, the Sword of Flame is scheduled to visit my estate soon. Perhaps you could receive some guidance then. I intend to give this opportunity to all the noble heirs under ‘my command.’ We could even invite your master to join.”

“Ooh…”

“Indeed, that’s the generosity of a Count.”

The Count subtly confirmed McLaine’s inclusion along with the stay of the heirs.

It was then that Logan fully grasped the Count’s intentions.

He sought to ensnare McLaine by any means, whether it be through subjugation or conquest. From the moment Logan set foot here, McLaine’s options had narrowed.

In this situation, he couldn’t outright refuse again.

‘If I refuse, they will seize me, citing insult, or they might even point a sword at me.’

From the start, they had only presented him with one choice.

‘It’s fortunate I had anticipated this and have prepared accordingly.’

Hoping that his countermeasures would not be late, Logan simply bowed his head.

“Thank you for the generous offer. Given your insistence, I cannot refuse. I look forward to it.”

As Logan made these complicated considerations and stepped back,

“I am grateful that you have accepted my offer, Young lord Logan.”

The Count glanced around with a smile on his face.

“The decision of McLaine shall be the starting point for the Southwest to unite once again. And…….”

Pausing deliberately to draw attention, the Count then resumed,

“Prior to organizing this event, there had already been several discussions. Circles close to mine, like Knight Jeff Percival and Baron Derek Luffman had long promised to unite beneath Bifrost’ banner.”

Those from the mentioned families, already aware, nodded along, while only the faces of Feretta’s party turned solemn, having known of this beforehand.

“In this venue, to honor their allegiance, I intend to present the heirs with fitting gifts.”

Clap, clap.

With the sound of clapping, the banquet hall doors opened once more.

Ten knights – not servants – escorted a cart into the hall, seeming to guard it.

Clunk.

A silk cloth laid over the display stand on the wheeled cart, and atop it sat two transparent glass cases.

The items within the cases captivated everyone’s gaze.

A beautiful longsword flashed alluringly, its slender, silvery blade and radiant luster catching the light.

A huge warhammer, whose simple shape was complimented by the undulating blue light, as tall as an average adult man.

The unusual luster of these items revealed their identity as uncommon weapons.

“Artifacts?!”

“If the color of the magic is that deep, they must be at least 3rd class…”

“Of course. Given the Count’s reputation, they must be treasures worth at least several tens of millions of gold.”

“Truly a collector of treasures…”

Artifacts.

Magical tools crafted with materials imbued with or inserted with magic, to exert magical effects perpetually.

While elemental circle mages could also create artifacts, most often it was the class mages, commonly referred to as the mage faction, whose artifacts were highly versatile.

For this reason, artifacts were typically classified by the class of the enchantment.

Despite their versatility, production cost was immense, as even the cheapest material used was typically mithril – not to mention the mage’s labor fee, which drove prices sky-high.

Thus, ordinarily, artifacts crafted as weaponry were enchanted with magic of at least 3rd class or higher.

To craft a 3rd class artifact, the services of a 5th class mage were needed, inflating the price to astronomical levels.

‘Giving such things as gifts? Indeed…’

Logan couldn’t help a bitter smile of admiration.

Certainly, Bifrost’ wealth, having risen to the top three of the kingdom, was not enviable without cause, having swallowed and grown on the lands of his ancestors.

“Silence, everyone!”

The Count called for quiet, yet a satisfied grin crossed his face.

“Witnessing the people’s reaction delighted him.”

“Ramon Percival. Step forward.”

“Yes!”

A sharp-featured, brown-haired man of about thirty stepped forth.

“Do you swear your loyalty to me?” the Count asked.

“Yes. On behalf of the Percival family, I swear my loyalty to you, Count Roger Bifrost.”

“Good. I, Roger Bifrost, accept your oath and bestow upon you this sword as a token of your allegiance.”

“I will serve you faithfully!”

“This sword from Ramon is a 3rd class artifact, enhancing the wielder’s strength and the blade’s cutting edge. Use it to guard your family and to serve Bifrost!”

“I am indebted to your generosity!”

As Ramon Percival knelt, mirroring the ceremonial bestowal of knighthood, the banquet observed quietly, taking it as due course. For Logan, this scene loomed as a profound pressure.

Furthermore,

“I am not stingy with my givings. The families that unite under Bifrost shall receive their due rewards!”

While emphasizing these words and looking directly at him, it was clear it was not a mistake.

The Count’s pointed stare intensified the pressure, and that is when,

“Why bother with such items? Don’t you think young lord Logan’s sword seems superior?”

Feretta’s fool, who had approached unnoticed, absurdly cut in. He had meant to whisper to Logan, but his voice carried too far.

“Young lord?!”

His knight gasped.

“You idiot… Haah.”

Logan’s face contorted, but Fron just flashed a snarky grin, acting unconcerned.

“No, I just thought the Count was being overly generous. Don’t you think? In my opinion, young lord Logan’s sword looks far superior.”

The continued uncouthness caused murmurs to spread, and the Count’s expression hardened. Unaware of the impact of his words, Fron seemed oblivious to the drastic shift in the banquet’s mood.

‘Is this fool digging his own grave out of bruised pride?’

Logan certainly wanted the rumors of Hammer’s sword, Lux, to reach the Count, but not like this.

Access to genuine Dwarven craftsmanship was simple once known, yet greedy nobles never thought in that direction.

‘Had I not seen it myself, I wouldn’t have considered it either.’

In the worst-case scenario, if his plans didn’t appeal to the Count, Logan had intended to use it as a bargaining chip or stall for time.

But now,

‘That damned fool…’

Some brute had stormed in and turned the tables completely.

“Ah, so young lord Logan’s sword is that remarkable?”

The Count’s eyes locked onto Logan’s waist, his gaze shifting from that of a gatherer of unity to a collector burning with greed.

“Indeed, I was fortunate to acquire a Dwarven piece.”

“Really? A true Dwarven craft? In rarity alone, it could compare to an artifact, as enslaved Dwarves have long lost the skill of their ancestors.”

If only you promised them freedom, you too could possibly possess it.

While Logan sneered inwardly, the pressing matter was to navigate through the present predicament.

“May I have a look at your sword, young lord?”

Logan was certain that once handed over, his sword would never return.

Therefore,

“Although young, I am a knight, and it wouldn’t be appropriate to dismissively hand over my companion. I apologize.”

No matter what, he could not give it away.

– A low-grade artifact is nothing compared to this. It’s a masterpiece, the first of its kind I’ve crafted. Have you heard of a legend attached to a Dwarven piece with a spirit? It doesn’t just come to life because I wish to craft it again.

Hammer’s proud words resonated in Logan’s ears.

A Dwarven piece with a spirit.

Even without the almost mythical legends that followed its name, Lux, which Hammer had tailored for Logan’s physique, had become his soul’s companion.

But despite his diplomatic refusal, the Count was relentless.

“A sword is your partner, you say… Heh. You speak with an old-fashioned touch that belies your youth. How about this, then? Show us its worth through a bout.”

“A bout?”

“Why yes. We have people here who have just received my artifacts. A competition would be suitable for comparison. Ramon Percival, you’re an intermediate-level, aren’t you?”

“Yes, my lord. I’m but modest, having barely reached that stage a few years back.”

Despite his modesty, reaching the intermediate level at around thirty was not slow at all. And with newly received Ramon’s sword in hand, Ramon’s eyes were brimming with confidence.

“Then let’s have a spectacle of the future leaders of our lands demonstrating their valor for the festivity!”

Clap, clap.

As the Count clapped, the center of the banquet hall cleared to make space.

‘Good grief. I didn’t agree to any of this…’

His opponent was already armored on top of his formal attire.

Unexpectedly entangled in an annoying situation, Logan’s expression twisted in irritation.

“However, a mere bout would be dull, so let’s raise the stakes.”

The Count’s eyes glinted mischievously, everyone’s attention turning to him.

“If Ramon wins, I shall claim that Dwarven sword, and if young lord Logan wins, I shall bestow a suitable artifact. How does that sound, Ramon?”

“I shall follow your command.”

“And you, young lord Logan?”

The turn of events had changed things significantly.

“I accept.”

“Quite magnanimous.”

It was a chance worth taking.

“I must say, I am equally in awe of your generosity, Count.”

Indeed you are.

Despite not stating the full extent of his thoughts, the mutual understanding between the Count and Logan was evident as they both smiled.

‘This is an unexpected windfall.’

The annoyance caused by Fron had long evaporated.

In Logan’s eyes, the fool before him began to look like a free artifact.

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