Regressor of the Fallen Family chapter 114

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Regressor of the Fallen Family Chapter 114

Chapter 114

Logan had not only intended to cherry-pick talents from the fallen families due to internal strife. Although he could not openly make a public recruitment, he had been indirectly spreading rumors through other villages and merchants that the McLaine territory was accommodating refugees generously. As the civil strife continued past two months, gradually refugees, or rather war refugees, began to trickle into McLaine lands. And this influx was gaining momentum.

Eventually, a report arrived stating that the McLaine Town was reaching its accommodation limit much sooner than expected.

“It seems we might have to execute the second town plan sooner rather than later,” Dwayne reported with a grave look on his face.

“A second town, huh? Between Tomodo and Sylvan, right?”

“Yes. Gathering the scattered villages on the old McLaine plains, now called the Bifrost plains, and including the refugees, would make production management much more efficient. Just as McLaine Town has already proven.”

“The current increase in troops and the pace of material consumption are putting a strain on our finances, aren’t they?”

“We are managing for now. That’s all the more reason to build the town before the planting season starts, to increase the projected yield for the year.”

“Is the budget definitely in place?”

“We will need to tighten our belts for a while. So please, you must refrain from…”

“Ah, I understand. Proceed with it.”

Thus began the construction of the second McLaine Town. However, the plans for its construction faced issues from the very start.

“Are we short on money?”

“The war has greatly increased the consumption of timber. Importing from the Tritan estate is now out of the question; we’d have to source from the empire or pull from the southern mountain ranges, but the latter would have a great backlash.”

Logan felt a bitter taste in his mouth as he sighed. Yet, he, the one who directly ordered the troop reinforcements that caused the increase in timber consumption, had no right to complain.

“…We’ll have to import from the empire. Do some logging too. So, how much more will that cost?”

“For now, we are fine. But once the town construction is finished and until this year’s harvest, we might have to tighten the belt even further. With the troop issue, even the gold mines’ finances are tight.”

As their expressions grew serious, Philip, who had been listening, interjected with a puzzled look.

“Why is money short? The territory has more than enough to sell.”

“To sell?”

“What?”

“Food.”

Philip’s casual response dramatically changed their expressions.

“Sell food?! With the current state of affairs! We need to be prepared for emergencies.”

Dwayne roared, his face flushing with anger, but Logan’s eyes gleamed.

“Food? Do we have that much of a surplus?”

“Yes. I heard you didn’t sell the excess food produced in preparation for the war. But then, our war ended quickly, and with the onset of the civil war, food prices have skyrocketed. Selling even half of it would mean we don’t have to worry about money. The ranch construction you’ve planned can also be significantly accelerated.”

Ranch construction.

It was essential in preparing the necessary groundwork for producing thousands of crossbow cavalry in the long term. To operate the cavalry, they had relied entirely on imported horses, but it had been argued that we must also consider their production and not just management for the maintenance of our forces. That was the reason they had saved the produced food…

But selling the food that was reserved for the ranches would allow them to build the ranches sooner.

“Yes. With food prices unlikely to go higher than now, it is the perfect time to sell the surplus.”

No, prices will likely be even higher in about two years.

But still…

“It’s a good idea.”

“Milord!”

“I knew you’d say that!”

“W-wait, Milord. If something untoward occurs, what will we do about our food…”

“We’re just loosening up production right now. Think of it as an investment, an investment.”

“But surely you don’t mean—”

“Oh, it won’t come to that.”

“Milord!”

Dwayne’s concerns were understandable, but Logan was confident.

War is the result of madness created by reason.

Yet sometimes, that madness devours reason itself. When harm escalates, it’s only natural for the conflict to intensify. A timid war that only tests the waters will not last long. The civil war is bound to become increasingly fierce with time.

And if that happens…

‘No one will care to give a thought to those who sit idly. They’ll be too preoccupied with slaying each other.’

A sly smile crept upon Logan’s lips.

“Sell half of the surplus food to the different factions. Philip, you take care of that. Squeeze out as much profit as possible. And with that money, oversee the timber purchases too.”

“Yes, Milord.”

“Dwayne, proceed with preparing for the construction of the second town.”

“…Yes.”

With a sigh mixed with dismay, Dwayne complied.

While some might find such developments suffocating, at this very moment, McLaine was unquestionably advancing.

And as Logan smiled in assurance, a report from Nox, diligently fulfilling a commission he had long forgotten about, arrived before him.

To young lord Logan McLaine. We have located an individual fitting the description of the person you requested us to find two years ago—the mage Chern Crow. Currently in the territory of Rusfell, near the eastern borders of the Empire, adjacent to the Grandia Kingdom. The subject matches the provided description and the estimated level of power. Although not under the name Krawne that you mentioned, there is a high probability…

It was the result of tracking a request regarding an independent superhuman who made a name during the war with the empire.

“The Mage of Slaughter, Krawne. Ha… Why now… Of all people…”

This news troubled Logan.

During the Imperial War in his past life, there had been a certain mage who had served as a mercenary for the empire. Shrouded in artifacts of his own making, he fought at the very front, not typical for a mage, and slaughtered the troops of the kingdom. He gained infamy as a superhuman, though his reputation and treatment differed drastically from that of The Evil Sword Banjoni. While the imperial palace refused to acknowledge Banjoni despite the mercenary contracts due to his horrendous acts, they actively courted Krawne, the Mage of Slaughter. However, the Mage of Slaughter continued to reject their entreaties and operated as a mere mercenary.

Though the number of slain Grandia troops by this mercenary was prodigious, the more critical reason for concern was different.

– The developer who successfully mass-produced lower-grade artifacts and one of the 10 leading merchants of the empire.

There were speculations that he had joined the war reluctantly due to the empire’s insistence, and within a decade, he would become an unbeatable powerhouse in both martial and financial prowess. It was also a consensus among historians that the fall of Grandia was accelerated by at least half due to the lower-grade artifacts he supplied to imperial knights.

Therefore…

‘The best course is to induct him if possible. Or, at least, he must be eliminated.’

Logan’s gaze naturally carried a murderous intent.

Regardless of the Grandia kingdom’s soldiers sacrificed to those artifacts, the damage the resistance suffered later was immense.

Emotionally, upon laying eyes on him, Logan wanted the man dead.

‘But still, if possible, I must bring him in.’

The Mage of Slaughter was that sort of talent.

Thus, he could not afford to miss this opportunity.

Even if Nox’s report was false, it required verification.

And Logan was the only person who could recognize him; no one else could be entrusted with this task.

Eventually, Logan informed his retainers of his brief journey to the empire.

As expected, the responses were less than favorable.

“At a time like this, where are you going?”

“Just out near the border.”

“So you’re heading to the empire?”

“It’s more like just stopping by another territory near the border.”

“But that’s the empire!”

“Well, technically, but it’s not far from our border.”

“Why go now?”

His father’s incredulous look faced Logan, who could only partially reveal the truth due to the circumstances.

“I have placed a request. I’ve found the location of an item I must obtain, no matter the risk.”

“An item?”

“Yes.”

Unable to say it was a person, since that would leave him at a loss for words if he returned after killing the target, Logan withheld the full truth. Still, even if the suspicions were unfounded, there was an actual item to retrieve.

‘At this point, The Mage of Slaughter would have created a few artifacts, maybe even something beyond imagination.’

Thus, he could speak confidently.

“What kind of item…”

“Artifacts.”

“Ah…”

Patrick lost his words for a moment, gazing at his son.

He never knew where his information came from, but his son had made these incomprehensible moves several times, most of which had been successful.

It made him anxious not knowing the basis, but…

“Will it be dangerous?”

“There should be no danger for me.”

“Then?”

“Please keep a constant watch on the internal conflict. For now, it shows only signs of slowly escalating, but given our recent actions against Bifrost and Duke Yordan, nothing is certain. The training for the new troops has just begun, and we have not yet fully recovered our own forces.”

“It was not ‘we’ who did that… Well, it was. Sigh. So, despite being aware of the danger you mentioned, are you still insisting on going?”

“Yes!”

Patrick silently looked up into eyes that resembled his own.

Although he didn’t understand the rationale behind it, his son’s actions always ended up for the family’s benefit. Another trust might not hurt.

“Alright. Go then. Just make sure you’re well disguised. Our family traits are too distinct and word would spread quickly.”

“Of course.”

Though he felt somewhat uneasy, the permission was granted. Logan left his father’s office with a light heart.

* * *

“May you return safely.”

“Thank you, soldiers.”

As always, the soldiers guarding the border post allowed the peddler to pass after receiving a reasonable amount of money. Most of these moths, carrying just a pack on their bare bodies and dreaming of a jackpot, would pass away never having seen the large cities of the empire.

Thus, a slight bending of the law like this was naturally deemed a way to earn pocket money.

And it was the same for the soldiers at the empire’s border post just a few hundred meters away.

In fact, they were even more lax. One of the soldiers even had connections with a gang of robbers operating at the border. Depending on the value of the goods in the peddler’s sack, a certain amount would be rewarded to that soldier.

‘You should fear the world, merchant. Why wander alone?’

The empire’s soldier Largo chuckled to himself, recalling the red-haired ‘blue-eyed’ merchant who had handed him a gold coin earlier.

“The empire…”

Crossing the border post and walking for quite some time, the blue plains began to come into view.

Logan rubbed his dry eyes, which felt gritty from the magic.

Looking out into the distance evoked a familiar sensation.

A peddler’s disguise, eyes’ color the only thing changed in the disguise.

Such antics, which he had performed countless times in his past life, naturally brought up memories of those days.

With his overtly distinctive physical characteristics, changing just one aspect often made him appear completely different—a tremendous advantage in disguise, so he often traveled this path among his comrades.

Following the main road to the west leads to the city of Rusfellheim, a three-day walk to the eastern part of the empire. The city served as a bridgehead for the empire’s invasion and a supply base, a city he often visited with mixed feelings of love and hate… no, rather, with pure loathing, one he would love to set ablaze immediately if possible.

But his current destination was not that place.

‘Southward. Closer to the border…’

It was unclear why the future superhuman Mage of Slaughter was in such a remote borderland, yet that made it an opportunity he could not afford to miss.

‘Surely he’s not a superhuman yet.’

The idea of a superhuman concealing their power and languishing in a borderland territory was preposterous.

Considering the acts Krawne committed later, his ambition was certainly no less than others.

‘Perhaps he’s quietly elevating his power with research.’

If so, perhaps a 5th Circle, or given his unique abilities, a 5th Class mage.

That would place him on par with the highest tier of Force Users.

However, since Class Mages were slower to cast than Circle Mages, it would be possible to kill him…

*Slap!*

“Why do I keep thinking like that? First, I should aim to recruit him. Lay aside the grudges of my past life.”

Chastising himself with a slap to his cheek, Logan tried to focus, continuing his journey.

After walking for hours, as dusk fell, Logan found himself waiting for the stars to appear in the middle of a forest path.

Leaving behind the familiar highway and now trudging through a forest path where human signs had seemingly vanished, it felt as if he had lost his way.

‘Looks like I have no choice but to navigate using the stars and walk through the night.’

Just as he grumbled to himself and settled down to wait…

Shortly after,

“Halt! Stop right there, red hair!”

“That bastard, wasn’t he the one heading to Rusfell? Why’d he veer off?”

“Looks suspicious, this one. This might be a good deed we’re doing for the country.”

“That’s right, stop in your tracks. You walk pretty fast for a bright red sucker like you. We’ll have you leaking the same color as your head. Damn, I’m tired.”

Rough-looking brutes, wearing reasonably good leather armor and wielding iron weapons, encircled him before he knew it.

And Logan smiled.

Because he had just found his guides.

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