Regressor of the Fallen Family chapter 179

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Regressor of the Fallen family

Chapter 179

It was generally considered taboo to utter irrelevant words while weaving mana for a spell, as it could detract from concentration and hinder the success of the magic. Clayton, who had always taught his disciples this lesson, now found himself wanting to pray to the gods in this tense moment.

“Please, please…”

The mana he was conjuring was at the humble level of first circle, and the metal that was his main focus was merely plain steel. However, the blue-green liquid flowing around the steel was a concentrated solution of rare magic metals, mithril and black metal. Failure meant the evaporation of nearly a million gold worth of materials into thin air. Moreover, this experiment had exhausted the rest of his budget, a whopping ten million gold, which he had procured through a request to the Grand Duke. A failure now not only meant the loss of all that money but also the dim prospects for any further experiments. This was a last desperate gamble.

“Please, please, please, please! Oh nine great gods who watch over heaven and earth, please help me!” Clayton begged, his mage’s dignity abandoned as he knelt and searched for divine intervention. ‘I can’t fail again after such firm assurances to the Grand Duke!’

But the gods turned a deaf ear.

Fssh.

The special solution that had been bubbling ceased with a final subtle sound.

“Oh no!”

Clayton’s scream was followed by a collapse to the ground. His experiment had failed, leaving nothing but hardened scraps of useless metal where once mithril and black metal had been infused with mana and unique properties.

“Mi, million gold! A million gooooold!!!”

Clasping his head, Clayton’s wail was one of utter devastation. His despair not only proved that magicians were but mere mortals before budget constraints, but also showed that even they could be reduced to helplessness. His students would rush in upon hearing him, only to find their master prostrate, unable to rise until much later. It took a full two days before Clayton could even begin to recover from the mental damage and start reviewing his experiment.

“The theory is correct. I’m sure of it; I perfected it. So why…?”

Clayton’s confidence had been his justification for boldly requesting funds from Logan. However, after several failed attempts, it seemed clear that there was a flaw in his supposedly perfect theory. He had to find the area for improvement.

After thoroughly reviewing his experiment, an epiphany struck him. “Yes! That’s it, the error is there! Damn it! If I just fix that…”

But a significant problem remained. To validate his improved theory, he needed money; yet to get the money, he needed to prove his theory—a vicious circle. To make things worse, two days ago he had dissipated his last remaining funds into the air.

“Damn it! You fool! Should have saved some. After so many failures, why was I convinced it would be the last one?! Ugh!”

He berated himself repeatedly, yet the feeling of déjà vu suggested this wasn’t the first time he had been in such a situation. However, his pride as a distinguished mage prevented him from accepting the reality of his repetitive failures.

“Money, I need money.”

Though he was vaguely aware it hadn’t been long since he had last received funding, Clayton couldn’t afford the luxury of time. He needed to bolden his face for the sake of his research… No, for the development of his domain.

‘Yes, this is all for the domain.’

With newfound resolve, Clayton clenched his fists and rushed towards the manor. There, he stood humbly before Logan, his hands neatly folded in front of him.

“…You have spent ten million gold in less than two months?”

The disbelief in Logan’s voice was palpable; it was a ludicrous statement that deserved such emotion. The problem, however, was that Clayton was the recipient of these words.

Trying to suppress his sinking heart, Clayton forced himself to straighten his posture and regurgitate his rehearsed promises.

“There was a small, a very small mishap in the experiment. Next time, I will surely succeed!”

Despite his puffed chest and determined eyes, the Grand Duke’s cold gaze was that of one looking at an addict hopelessly lost in gambling.

“Your Excellence, I have truly found the critical point for improvement. The cost of experiments could be reduced, and success would render the invested funds trivial compared to the significance of the research. You are aware of our abilities, aren’t you?”

Perhaps swayed by his passionate appeal, the Grand Duke’s expression wavered.

“Yes, I am aware. But as for the budget…”

As Logan hesitated, Clayton took his chance to continue his plea.

“The number of my disciples at the magic tower has increased by six. With your generous funding, we were able to create many magical formations for talent tests. Even if the experiment fails, mobilizing these new disciples who possess magical aptitude will be enough to recover the investment. You are well aware of our construction skills, Your Excellence.”

“…As far as I can remember, you came to our domain promising not to overwork your students.”

His conscience pricked sharply by Logan’s pointed words, Clayton felt dizzy.

“Well, this… by working on construction and simultaneously using magic and golems, pushing their limits will… help them grow…”

Though aware of the pitiful nature of his excuses, Clayton couldn’t afford to concede.

After the death of Juan Douglas, Clayton had become the sole magician in the kingdom and had long been a slave to his budget.

“That’s enough.”

Bang!

Logan slammed the desk, and Clayton’s eyes dimmed.

“Your, Your Excellence…”

However, the Grand Duke’s ensuing firm response was unexpected.

“As soon as funds become available, I will aid the magic tower again. It won’t take long. Just give me a little time.”

“Is that true?”

“Yes. Truly.”

“Aaaaah! Thank you, Grand Duke! Thank you!”

Clayton bowed repeatedly as Logan couldn’t help but smirk.

‘Well, he may look like it, but he’s quite an innocent soul.’

The details of Clayton’s research were meticulously recorded, and it was clear he wasn’t squandering the money frivolously. Besides, wasn’t it Logan himself who had requested this very research, handing over the journal of Krauwn?

Now, here was Clayton seeking assistance as though he was now the one in charge. The simplicity of the magician’s manner helped alleviate some of the pain from such an onerous expense.

Furthermore, Logan had already intended to meet with Clayton.

“Clayton, if you’re taking a break from your experiments, you must have some free time, don’t you?”

“Yes? Oh, yes. My students will handle the selection process by themselves, so as for me…”

“That’s good. Before the budget is replenished, let’s take a trip together.”

“To where?”

“Have you heard of the Taren region?”

“Yes. It’s the new land granted to our family.”

Watching the confused expression on Clayton’s face, Logan smiled and said, “We’re going there. Perhaps I should ask, are you capable of casting spells that can probe deep beneath the earth’s surface?”

“Yes? Of course, I am. Despite appearances, I’m also a mage of the earth element.”

“Then that’s all I need. Hamar will be joining us, so make your preparations immediately.”

“Now?”

“Yes.”

Not willing to risk the budget?

Reading the thinly-veiled threat in Logan’s eyes, Clayton could only readily nod in agreement.

Soon after, Logan collected Hamar, who was carving the 142nd eye of Noir at the forge, and set off.

* * *

While some sought permission, others were outright abducted. The inequality was heartbreaking… Muttering the same complaint for three days straight was a peculiar talent.

‘He’s consistent, that one…’

Despite this, the dwarf somehow remained endearing, and Logan felt obligated to give him the reward he intended to provide after arriving at their destination a bit earlier than planned.

“Hamar, come here.”

“Yes, instantly at your service. What choice do I have but to comply? Ask, and you shall receive.”

As the dwarf approached, visibly annoyed, Logan struggled to contain his laughter while presenting the magic contract they had prepared.

“Remember this?”

Hamar’s face contorted even further.

“Yes, yes. That’s why I’m so forthrightly here, isn’t it?”

Sensing something, the dwarf’s expression slowly began to change. Logan relished the moment before pushing the contract towards him.

“So, I thought I’d give you this slave contract as a gift – and terminate it right here and now…”

But as Logan tensed his grip.

Slap!

“No! Stop! Don’t move, Master! Hey! Don’t clench your hand! Ssst! What are you doing?! This is it?!”

The dwarf leapt from the saddle, grabbed Logan’s hands, and hung desperately.

“What are you doing?”

Wasn’t he about to gain his freedom?

Incredulous, Logan stared back as the dwarf exclaimed,

“This contract ensures my freedom after… no, in just 16 years! Who are you to tear it up? Are you planning not to release me?!”

“I meant that I’m returning your freedom now, not after 16 years…”

“You’ll just enslave me indefinitely without this contract! I know it all!”

How could one’s kindness be so misinterpreted? Logan glanced at the dwarf, feeling a sting in his heart.

“Come on, I’ve always kept my promises, haven’t I?”

“Huh?”

Hamar seemed to falter, vaguely troubled by memories.

“By all demons, you’re sly. Anyway, I won’t relent on this!”

“So be it. Keep it then. If it makes you happy, then that’s good enough for me.”

While his gift had caused him emotional injury, Logan resignedly nodded, his conscience not quite at ease.

“What should I do with this then? If he were human, I would promise him money or some high position, but dwarves aren’t interested in wealth or glory, and what good is a pile of mithril to him?”

Hamar exploded again, “Who’s the despicable whelp who said dwarves find romance in weaponsmithing? I swear if I catch him, I’ll tear his mouth apart! Don’t even start with such horrific thoughts.”

“That would make Lux cry.”

Oh.

Whether it sensed something or it was merely coincidence, the beloved sword Lux at Logan’s side appeared to shiver slightly.

Noticing this, Hamar glanced at Logan’s waistband while repeatedly clearing his throat.

“Sometimes it’s nice to create true masterpieces like Lux… But that’s not the norm! I’m telling you, absolutely not!”

Stubbornly adamant, Hamar left Logan chuckling and shaking his head.

“And who said dwarves dislike wealth and opulence? I wonder where you got such peculiar paradigms about our race. Really, what to do with you!”

“Wait, what?”

“I too want to spend my days sipping ale, gorging on meat, and rolling around with my belly exposed! I want to be the one giving orders and barking commands, not being told what to do! I hate working! I crave wealth and luxury!”

With the dwarf thrashing on the ground in protest, Logan ended up promising more than he had ever intended to appease him.

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