Regressor of the Fallen Family chapter 13

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Chapter 13 – The Willingness to Return to the Mountains

That statement implied that he was willing to let the dwarf follow in the footsteps of the Hammer clan, which had vanished beyond the massive mountain range that stretched across the southern part of the continent. To the dwarf, a half-elf who typically lived for 300 years, 20 years to gain freedom did not seem like a particularly long time.

“……Humans are good at lying. Do you think I can trust those words?”

However, the dwarf’s distrust of humans was profound, and the look of resignation in his eyes did not waver. It was then that Logan gently pulled out a piece of paper shimmering with bluish energy from within his clothes.

“Do you know what this is?”

The dwarf’s eyes trembled upon verifying the item.

“……A magic contract?”

It was a spare he had prepared when buying a magic contract to bind Philip, thinking of this very day.

“You’re not going to use that for me, are you?!”

“Well observed. If you really cannot trust me, then I could draft a contract for you.”

“Let’s write the contract! Absolutely! I’ll make anything for you!”

Logan’s lips curved into a faint smile at the radically changed attitude of Hammer. Without delay, he proceeded to draft the contract for the enthusiastic dwarf. To Logan, it was merely bait to ensure his eagerness.

However, upon seeing the light of the magic contract enveloping both him and Logan, Hammer, contrary to his usual stoic countenance, let tears roll down his cheeks.

“I can’t believe you would actually do that for me. Thank you, human. No, thank you, Master!”

It was a strange sight to see someone destined to 20 years of forced labor expressing gratitude and even using honorifics, difficult for a dwarf.

Logan couldn’t help but chuckle at the odd disconnection.

‘If a single contract can inspire such motivation, then it’s a profitable deal.’

The weapon he intended to create required only a slight edge over the skills of a human blacksmith, which was within reach even with a disillusioned dwarf’s ability. However, Logan’s promise of freedom was influenced, perhaps, by memories from his past life.

A thousand years ago during ‘The Great Migration,’ most dwarves also vanished beyond the southern mountain range. Consequently, master dwarves, who were rumored to be found only in the great cities of the dwarves, became even rarer. And those master dwarves, once enslaved, could no longer display skills that matched their reputation.

But Logan had once witnessed, in his past life, the ‘true’ capabilities of a master dwarf — in a piece crafted with the joy of liberation.

‘The craftsmanship of a master dwarf infused with genuine willpower. It truly was impressive.’

Such skill was worth the investment if he could draw it forth. For Logan’s plans, 20 years was more than enough time.

‘Unless it all falls apart before then.’

Shaking off those ominous thoughts, Logan turned his gaze from Hammer, who now looked elated, to Kai, whose expressionless face kept vigilance behind him.

‘Anyway, I’ve achieved my purpose of coming to Harun.’

A contented smirk appeared on Logan’s lips as he moved forward with a lighter heart, reassured by the smooth unfolding of the plan.

But the relief was fleeting. As they were leaving the slave market, Logan and his party encountered a raucous incident.

“Seize him!”

“The slave has escaped!”

“Catch him! Catch them, you fools!”

A middle-aged man with a hooked nose and blood streaming down his forearms pointed at a spot in the slave market and bellowed loudly. A blue-haired boy carrying a girl who resembled him was rushing through the crowded people, with five or six individuals who looked like mercenaries in pursuit.

The boy, with his surprisingly nimble movements unsuited for his emaciated frame, managed to escape the mercenaries’ grip time after time. However, the chase was not to last.

Thud! Thud!

“You damn dog!”

Thump.

“You think you can bite me?!”

Crud.

Angered beyond reason, the hooked-nose man mercilessly trampled the child. Even as he spat out his fury, it seemed he wouldn’t care if the child died from his violent kicks.

The blue-haired boy’s unyielding posture during the onslaught, if anything, only intensified the man’s rage as time went on.

‘His sister…?’

Biting his lip until it bled, the boy stubbornly resisted bending his outstretched arms and legs, a clear indication that he was protecting his sister from the kicks.

“Oh, brother, I’m okay.”

Trembling, the girl whispered, clutching at the boy’s arms — a soft voice only Logan could hear if he concentrated, but it was unlikely the boy above had missed.

“Don’t worry about the slaves. Just move along.”

“Aye. I know, but… just one moment…”

In the eyes of the world, slaves were not humans but property. How their owner treated them was not a matter for others to interfere with, even if that treatment was as abhorrent as what they witnessed.

Moreover, the mercenaries who caught the boy were glancing around, poised and ready for any interference.

There was no reason to risk an altercation over someone else’s property, yet Logan couldn’t take his eyes off the beaten boy.

‘Why?’

It wasn’t just out of sympathy for the boy. The contrasting red and blue eyes beneath the blue hair — an odd-eye — were a rarity, perhaps even unique on the continent, and that teased a part of his memory.

‘Blue hair, red and blue odd-eye slave…’

He was sure it was important, but the clear answer eluded him, leaving him with a feeling of frustration. Then, as his gaze fleetingly met with the boy’s eyes, a long-forgotten memory flashed through Logan’s mind.

“Ah! Victor!”

“Yes?”

“No, nothing. Just wait a moment…”

The memories that surfaced brought a strange pleasure, but they also laid before Logan yet another concern.

‘To think I’d encounter the Noble Slayer here.’

Looking at the boy, now suspected of being Victor, his eyes narrowed.

Victor, the Noble Slayer, a powerful aura user who gained tremendous fame in the kingdom in Logan’s previous life. His notoriety was particularly due to his origins.

Born not from nobility or even commoners, Victor was a slave — and a runaway slave who killed his master at that. This uneducated combatant laid waste to his pursuers and eventually became a fugitive, guilty of slaughtering numerous soldiers, knights, and nobles before vanishing.

Nearly a decade later, around the time the imperial war began, Victor resurfaced, slaughtering the entire family of his previous owners with the use of aura, a sign of a superhuman.

Thereafter, he became infamous as the Noble Slayer among aura users, indiscriminately murdering nobles throughout the Grandia Kingdom.

‘That slave escape incident happened about a year after I became a mercenary.’

Logan remembered the approximate time because it was right after the end of the McLaine fiefdom’s siege. He could not recall specifics like which family’s slave Victor was, but he found him by chance now.

And if Logan were to save this boy now?

‘A future aura user would be on my side.’

It would undeniably be beneficial. However, there was one problem…

“Argh!”

Amidst his thoughts, Victor or the boy presumed to be him, bit fiercely into the leg of his oppressor, drawing blood. The mercenaries rushed to beat and pry him off, but the boy held on determinedly.

The ferocity in the boy’s eyes evoked memories of ominous rumors from a past life.

‘An unstoppable maniac killer.’

Logan needed reliable soldiers, not weapons that might turn on their own.

‘…If it’s a weapon, just isolate it. So it can’t chip away at the kingdom’s power.’

The conclusion came embarrassingly quickly after a brief period of thought.

With that resolve, Logan made his move.

“This mutt…”

Thunk.

“Huh?”

Hooked-nose, still intent on kicking the boy who had already fainted, was startled by the sudden obstruction of a sheathed sword at his feet.

“What kind of…”

Red hair approached him, but not a single one of his guards noticed in time.

By the time the bodyguards were alerted and began to draw their swords, it was too late.

Moreover, the person following the red-haired individual appeared to be Kai, a renowned mercenary of Harun.

At last, seeing the flame emblem engraved on the armor of the red-haired individual, hooked-nose instinctively bowed deeply.

“I did not recognize someone of your stature. Did I somehow offend you?”

“Just passing by, but I became interested in the merchandise you were a bit too rough with.”

After some hesitation and an awkward chuckle, hooked-nose responded.

“Oh, you were a customer? What an embarrassing time—aha!”

“That’s enough. Is this how you usually treat your slaves?”

“No, no, not at all. These ones are just particularly stubborn… Haha, I showed an unsightly side of me. So, you’re interested in these siblings?”

While continuing to bleed from both his forearm and shin, he managed to laugh awkwardly and rub his hands together. Logan paid more attention to his words than his hideous demeanor.

“Customer, and merchandise…are you a slave trader? Excellent. Can we proceed with the transaction now?”

Showing eagerness would typically be a disadvantage in trade negotiations, but the situation was different now. Everyone’s attention was on them, and Logan had indirectly demonstrated a position of power over the merchandise, putting him in a psychological advantage.

Despite this, the slave trader’s market experience kept him from capitulating too easily.

“…these children have the rare red and blue odd eyes, and both siblings share this trait. They are a precious commodity, so their price is quite high… will that be alright?”

“That doesn’t matter. How much?”

“Well, at least ten thousand each…”

Logan’s brow twitched at that remark. A healthy young slave’s price was usually around 300 gold.

The slave trader was asking for a price tens of times higher for the frail children, solely for their odd eyes. Although Victor’s true worth could be easily tenfold that amount, Logan had no intention of paying such a price for the siblings who were currently valuable only for their unusual eyes.

‘More than anything, I don’t want to enrich this scum.’

The moment he locked gazes with the girl’s eyes, which brimmed with tears as she fretted over her unconscious brother, they became more than just someone else’s slaves he had encountered only five minutes ago. Consequently, his tone grew colder.

“The price for frail children nearing death is thirty times that of a robust slave, and one looks about to perish, doesn’t it?”

“Ah, brother…”

At his words, the girl cried out in alarm, tears cascading down her face. However, the target of his remarks, the slave trader, laughed unabashedly.

“Ahaha. You have quite the sense of humor. Even in this state, he is tough and will bounce back quickly.”

“Hmm, but the treatment would be expensive. And who knows how much it would cost to feed and train them for a while.”

“Well, you see, as you can see in this slave market, they are a unique item…”

“Five hundred gold each. Any more than that for a healthy slave is excessive.”

“Oh, my customer, that would barely cover the cost of sale.”

“Hmph. Do you think I’m ignorant of the cost of slaves?”

“Still, considering it is such a difficult item to find…”

“You’re too greedy. One thousand. Be satisfied with that.”

The slave trader started to retort but silenced himself as Logan gripped the hilt of his sword. It was essentially a threat. Swiftly calculating, the slave trader made his decision.

‘That Victor has always been trouble. He’ll likely continue to be.’

His gaze swept over his bleeding limbs as he thought.

A unique appearance may have value as a decorative piece, but if that decoration attempts to stab its owner, the significance is lost.

After a moment of hesitation, the slave trader nodded.

“…Thank you for your business, customer.”

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