Regressor of the Fallen Family chapter 18

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Chapter 18

“It stirs me. It becomes a stimulus. Clearly, meditation training alone was not the answer.”

Amid the resentful gazes of the knights, Logan was completely focused on the vibrating core of his heart instead. Following the broken engagement incident, Logan had replaced sleep with meditation training every night, believing it to be more efficient than forcibly training his body, which had already surpassed the level of a Force user. Indeed, it was effective, and he had become so accustomed to it that even the slightest fatigue no longer remained. However, in moments of intense hardship like the present, the Force core rapidly released and recuperated energy, becoming significantly clearer than during meditation training. Physically tired though he was, Logan could only spread a content smile at the sight of his Force core developing in realtime.

It was with sincerity that Logan was able to say, “Knights who train like this regularly can only be formidable. I truly admire you.”

Logan’s words, though mixed with a bit of flattery, completely blocked off any avenue of retort for Heinckel and the knights. “Ha, haha, of course. Ah, thank you for your recognition,” Heinckel replied with an awkward laugh, and the knights looked as if they wanted to vomit blood at the sight.

‘Damn it, that crazy…’

‘Ugh, that spiteful jerk. How exactly does he plan to screw us over?’

‘Why the hell did he come here?’

‘That madman!’

‘Please just go away!’

Conversely, the knights’ resentment towards Logan only deepened due to his unintended effect.

The second training of the day was cliff climbing, and as half of the knights collapsed, the day’s training for the McLaine Knights Order ended prematurely amidst disappointment. While the exhausted knights lay sprawling, emitting silent screams, Logan continually patted Heinckel’s shoulder with a look of regret. “I’ll be looking forward to more, Commander.”

Though it was meant as a genuine compliment, Heinckel’s expression only grew gloomier.

It wasn’t until the sun had set that Logan returned to the southern villa, and instead of going to his room, he headed to the mountain. Thanks to the Force core, his physical strength had quickly recovered, but mental fatigue was a different matter. Despite this, Logan felt unusually untired, even to himself.

‘This must also be because of…’

Vroom.

Logan smiled, sensing the Force core boasting its presence, and upon reaching a secluded ridgeline, he summoned his strength to its peak. A faint golden light then shrouded the longsword in his hand. Looking down contentedly at the light, Logan swung his sword into the air.

Swish.

Although it was just a light swing, the sword cleaved through the air, creating a powerful shockwave. A mere 1-star Force core, yet it displayed strength nearing that of an intermediate-grade knight. It was approaching the Force user’s intermediate level, where one could infuse objects with that power. Having succeeded in directing a faint energy flow into the sword, it seemed a matter of time before naturally reaching the intermediate level.

The evolved Force power was exhilarating, its amplified strength and overflowing healing beyond any simple Force Logan had mastered in a past life. He felt confident that even a lower knight could face a single thug alone.

‘If I am this powerful now, once I reach 2-stars…’

He may even reach the power level of a superior knight like his father, Patrick McLaine. Just imagining that domination made his hands tremble with excitement.

If he could advance just one more step before the territory war, his own martial power could become a variable in the conflict. A powerful variable, not unlike a crossbow cavalry.

“So, I must strive.”

After swinging his sword fiercely for a while, Logan finally descended from the mountain as the night deepened.

* * *

From that day on, Logan’s routine became almost regular. He diligently participated in the knights’ training, and in the evenings, tirelessly devoted himself to solitary practice, despite fatigue. Every few days, he checked on the progress of Hammer and the training situation of the mercenary troop. Casually observing Ronian’s swordsmanship training and Victor’s condition were bonuses.

Though content with his progress in training, that didn’t mean other matters were free from conflict.

“Is this the best you can do? Is this really your best effort? Then, forget this nonsense! Would you rather just make swords?!”

Thrown crossbows and cartridges clattered against the wall. Watching them roll away, Hammer’s face trembled with rage.

“Ma, Master. This crossbow has a rate of fire and range that cannot be compared to standard ones…”

“Where’s the rapid fire I ordered? Only this much comes out? And the cartridge? Who said I needed an integrated model?”

“Hmm, but…”

“Oh, I apologize. My words were too harsh.”

“That’s right! Even if you’re the master, you can’t just insult an artisan’s pride…”

“If this is truly your best effort, then so be it. Sigh, to think I spent all that money just for this…”

Hammer’s face crumpled like paper, hearing Logan’s lament, which seemed intended for his ears.

“Grr… Give me one week. I’ll remake it and return within a week.”

Crack!

Eventually, the dwarf smashed his own creation and stormed out of Logan’s room, cursing.

After the door closed, Logan wore a satisfied smile.

“A bit more pressure, and something incredible will come out. Dwarves are truly remarkable.”

* * *

Two weeks later.

Tatatatata.

Hundreds of cavalry horses thundered across the field, and in the hands of the riders, each held a crossbow commonly used by hunters.

“Load!”

The riders aimed in unison as they rode on.

“Fire!”

Shashaak.

The bolts launched by the 312 riders pierced through a pack of crawling Krols across the field, penetrating the low-tier monsters, similar to hyenas, with hardly a crawl making it through.

Kyaaaak!

As half of the presumably hundred-strong Krol pack perished in one volley, the remaining monsters charged furiously. Yet, despite the close approach of the Krols, the cavalry did not engage, strategically circling the battlefield to outmaneuver them.

After a while, as the monsters’ onslaught tired, the riders realigned for another volley, resulting in an annihilation. However, looking down upon this scene from a hill, Logan’s expression wasn’t exactly bright.

“Is it still too challenging with this? The remaining stragglers are taking so much time.”

“Logan, sir. This is the limit of crossbows. If you want serious combat readiness, perhaps the bow cavalry instead…”

“That’s enough. It’s sufficient.”

“Sir?”

“It’s fine. The movements are synchronized well enough, and the marksmanship is decent considering the training time. Good job. And keep up the effort.”

“Ah, yes. Well, it is my job and all.”

Despite Logan’s complement, Kai’s face showed dissatisfaction. It would be difficult for anyone, not just him, to be satisfied with the performance of the mercenary troupe.

‘Is this really just a sham? I’m confused.’

His curiosity would require much more time to be satisfied.

Days flowed by again, and then:

“Master! It’s complete! I’ve finished it!”

From his corner workshop in the villa, Hammer cheered, holding up a short, arm-length crossbow, as he greeted Logan.

“Alright, I came because I heard. Let’s check it out.”

However, Logan’s expression was far from pleased. He had rushed over at the news of the crossbow’s completion, but the size of Hammer’s crossbow was not what he had anticipated.

‘Why is it so small?’

Size mattered for all weapons, and the smaller the weapon, the more limited its application. This was particularly true for projectile weapons like bows and crossbows that utilized the tension of the bowstring, where a smaller size usually meant less power.

Thus, Logan’s frown was understandable.

“Ha-ha. Is it the size you’re worried about? Don’t fret. I assure you this, it might even perform better than what you asked for,” Hammer sensed Logan’s mood and reassured him enthusiastically, guiding his hand.

And there, on a mountain clearing, half-worried, half-excited Logan soon realized that the ‘sincere dwarf’ had crafted something truly formidable.

Ping!

Swoosh.

Pop-pop.

With a single twang as the string was released, two bolts cleaved the air. The bolts left the crossbow and hurtled over 300 meters, burying themselves so deeply into the target that not even the tail of the projectiles could be seen.

Logan was astounded by the power, which far surpassed the effective range of a usual crossbow, about 150 meters at most.

Ping!

Swoosh.

Pop-pop.

Moreover, within less than 5 seconds, the same scene unfolded again. It wasn’t two crossbows that had shot.

Hammer pulled a small trigger on the side of the crossbow, which automatically loaded the bolts in just about 5 seconds.

“Well, what do you think? It fires one less bolt than initially requested, but it’s easy to hold in one hand, so replacing the cartridge…”

As Hammer nonchalantly explained various points, Logan wasn’t hearing a single word.

‘Even though its range is less than the empire’s final version I remember, it’s certainly better suited for the cavalry.’

One of the weapons Logan had prepared was completed with far superior performance than he expected, and there was still half a year left before the territory war of his previous life.

Suddenly, the stout figure of Hammer seemed more beautiful than any gem.

Thus, Logan was able to unabashedly embrace the old dwarf, who was enthusiastically explaining the merits of the weapon, and cheer loudly.

“Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! Well done! Excellent, Hammer! Long live the dwarves! No, long live Hammer!”

For that moment, all lingering worries seemed to vanish.

However, Hammer himself could not entirely share in the joy.

* * *

“How many do we need?”

“Enough for 400 men.”

“Four hundred… This damn…”

Despite the gloomy dwarf, Logan inquired without concern, “When can they be ready?”

If completed, this would be a significant boon for his envisioned future.

“Within a generous period of 6 months…”

“Prepare it all in 2 months. Can you do that?”

Hammer was floored by the tyrannical demand that slashed the requested time by two-thirds.

“No! I mean, it’s impossible! That’s absolutely not happening.”

“Even if you do your best, it won’t work?”

“Impossible! Have you even considered the manufacturing process? Just shortening the purchased bolt prototypes takes so much effort…”

“So, what do you need?”

“I’d need at least five more technicians to help me.”

Logan’s face hardened at that response.

“The secrecy of this weapon could be compromised. That won’t do.”

“Then, we have no choice. Well, just wait 6 months.”

Logan grunted in frustration.

It was a reversal of the usual situation, and Hammer sported a rare smile on his face.

“If I find you five technicians, can you finish it in two months?”

“That too is tough. It would require at least three or four months…”

“So, difficult means it’s possible, right?”

“…Ugh.”

“So, it’s doable?”

“You… Damn…”

The dwarf made a reluctant commitment, and Logan had shown no mercy in his interrogation.

“Aagh! Yes! It’s doable, darn it! I can do it. Why did I agree to such terms…”

After hearing Hammer’s near-whimpering reply, Logan finally left the workshop satisfied.

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