Regressor of the Fallen Family chapter 189

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Regressor of the Fallen family

Chapter 189

“The Grand Duke has arrived!!”

“The Duke is back!”

The welcome in Macline Town was even warmer than in Taren.

With the new year about to begin, it appeared that Logan, who had been away from the town for nearly four or five months since the harvest season, had returned home before the year’s end.

Logan responded to all the hearty greetings with smiles and immediately hurried to the manor.

“What’s the rush? You’ll be out of breath. I heard you came straight here without even greeting the lord.”

After a long time, Dwayne, the administrator, greeted Logan with a snicker and laid down some documents in front of him.

“It’s urgent. I have to be away for another half year, so I need to get everything done before that.”

“What?”

“Ah. Haven’t you heard the news yet? Something’s come up. I’ll tell you about it later, but first, give me the report.”

With a puzzled look but quickly composing himself, Dwayne began to explain.

“Hmm, hmm. First, I’ll inform you of Prince Ronian’s whereabouts since you’re likely curious. He’s currently working as a mercenary under the name Roan in the southern part of the empire…”

“Hooh…?”

Dwayne’s report was lengthy, but it seemed that the younger brother was adapting well to the life of a mercenary.

‘Mother would be shocked… but it’s a good choice, Roni.’

Becoming a mercenary in the southern mountains—a dangerous choice, but it offered great potential for growth.

Battles against monsters, unlike conflicts with humans, would show Ronian a whole new world.

“Make sure he doesn’t go too deep—warn him of that! It’s crucial!”

“Well, that… The lord already took care of that. The lady passed out because of it.”

So, he already knew.

With a soft sigh, Logan then received a report on the business performance of the Macline Trading Company.

“…That covers the company’s achievements so far. They’ve made quite a profit, more than expected. However, for the past half-year, all earnings will be reinstated into repurchasing goods and establishing trade routes and subsidiaries in major cities. This was approved by the prince…”

“Of course. Just keep me thoroughly informed about that aspect.”

“Yes, I understand. I’ve written down the internal affairs of the territory in the documents. The budget has been arranged, and this is what remains.”

“Good. Any other issues among the administrators?”

When Logan thought of the former noble administrators and asked.

“Of course not. Thanks to the new administrators led by Fabian and Rockman, the budget arrangement has greatly improved. Damien’s absence is hardly noticeable since he left for the capital to carry out your orders.”

“…That’s a relief.”

The expression of the loyal retainer was clearly brighter than before.

To the point where Logan did not regret forcibly arranging a title for him.

“Regarding the details of the budget expenses…”

“I think there’s no need to check those. You’ve taken care of them well enough, surely.”

“My lord…”

As the big-bodied administrator looked moved, Logan, who just disliked paperwork, hastily changed the subject.

“Ah, by the way, are there still refugees coming into the territory?”

“Yes. There are fewer than before since the lands have been reassigned, but there’s no guarantee that new territories will be better than the previous lords. On the other hand, the rumors about our territory have spread far and wide…”

“Then, send the refugees to the Taren region. And among them, make sure only those who work diligently and whose identities are verified can settle closer to Taren. Also, keep up the food aid for a while.”

“Yes, I understand.”

“Send all the dwarves remaining in the town to Taren, as well. We will make all of Macline’s products there. Pay attention to the manpower allocation as well.”

“Yes, we’re already on it.”

“Good. I’m counting on you, Dwayne. And don’t you dare talk about quitting.”

“Of course not, my lord!”

Dwayne bowed repeatedly, feeling more teary because of his age.

After wrapping up the administrative reports swiftly, Logan stood up to check on the situation that was weighing most on his mind.

Fortunately, the person he was thinking of was on their way to the manor to see him.

A red-haired female knight who seemed to have just come from training, her armor slightly damp with sweat, appeared before him.

Logan automatically smiled, and the sentiment was mutual.

“Prince Logan! I was on my way to see you after I heard you’d arrived.”

“Yes. I was about to look for you, too.”

“Really…”

“Yes?”

“I wished to report on the progress as well.”

“…?”

“Are you here to check on the women soldier’s training?”

Well, that was correct, but somehow it felt slightly disappointing, even if it was great seeing her after so long.

Hiding his slightly sour feelings, Logan replied with an awkward smile.

“Ah, haha. Yes, you’re right. You just got here from the training ground?”

“Yes, follow me. I’ll show you their achievements.”

The confidence in her smile as if she was eager to boast about what she had accomplished shone brightly, and it left a more steadfast impression on Logan than any personal greeting could have.

“Let’s go.”

* * *

When Logan arrived at the training field, the running training was just wrapping up. He observed from a distance, not wanting to disrupt the focus of the trainees, but even from afar, he could see the transformed appearance of the women soldiers.

“Pant, pant.”

“Ten-minute break is over. Everyone back to positions!”

“Back to positions!”

The training soldiers quickly responded to the instructor’s call, repeating the command and moving in a well-organized manner. Soon they picked up the lances on one side of the training field and lined up at once.

“Taah!”

Centered around a female trainee who stood out with her tall stature, the trainees all pushed forward their lances with uniform movements.

While still showing signs of inexperience, the precision in their movements was evident—a sight unimaginable from the same female trainees who could hardly synchronize their steps just half a year ago.

Even more significantly, there wasn’t a single dropout.

“…232 of them. All still here? No dropouts at all? They’ve undergone standard training?”

That was most surprising and impressive. It was probably what Eileen was most proud of.

“Yes. Not a single one.”

Eileen’s face lit up with a natural smile as she replied.

“We focused on physical training for half a year, and a month ago, we also began with weapon training. I believe they’re not lagging behind the male recruits in training pace. No one gave up, and we’re starting to see some highly talented individuals.”

Eileen was always formal when reporting on her duties.

“Talented?”

“Yes. For example, that trainee in front, Cassandra, she has unbelievable strength and agility. She also has great instincts; had she been trained in swordsmanship from a young age, she might have become a Force User by now.”

“Hooh…?”

Following Eileen’s gaze, Logan noticed the tall trainee. However, Logan’s eyes widened in surprise as he recognized her.

“…And Evelyn, the young one, also has outstanding talent. Just looking at those two, it’s clear evidence that women are just as capable as men.”

“…Cassie?”

“Yes?”

“No, it’s nothing. She just looks like someone I know. Must be a mistake.”

Though he said that, Logan was certain he wasn’t mistaken.

‘What is that guy doing here now… Huh, interesting.’

The face of a veteran from the Grandia Kingdom, who had risen to A-Rank mercenary and even contributed to the Grandia Liberation Front. The unexpected reunion was particularly sweet, but Logan restrained his steps, guided by reason.

‘After all, Cassie wouldn’t recognize me now.’

A slightly bitter thought crossed his mind, but Logan quickly shook his head to clear away such notions.

Many achievements had been made, thanks to the regression. There was no room for sentiment over a broken bond, with so much work left to do.

Eileen seemed to have taken Logan’s reaction a bit differently.

“Do you know her, my lord?”

“No, it was just a mistake. Thought they were someone else.”

“Hmm… Let’s leave it at that, then.”

It really was that; it wasn’t just an excuse.

There was no fate in this life with that person.

“In any case, I should pay special attention to that trainee.”

“Yes. She certainly seems talented.”

“Hmm? You can tell from this distance?”

Logan deliberately avoided Eileen’s piercing gaze and silently wished his old comrade peace.

Eileen laughed softly at Logan’s behavior and began explaining the next training plans.

“…If the training goes smoothly in such a short time, we plan to have them spar with the male recruits.”

“Spar?”

“Yes. It’s mainly for show. If the first trainees perform well, it will encourage more people to join.”

“…A very good idea. Proceed with it.”

“Yes.”

The situation with the women soldiers was progressing better than expected, and Logan was relieved.

Furthermore…

“I’ll have to go to the empire soon. It will probably take at least half a year.”

“Then you’ll need an escort force. I should—”

“No. I know your skills, Eileen, but you are needed here for the training. The women trust you, I can tell even from here.”

“Isn’t it a risky journey? Then someone strong should—”

“It’s absolutely not dangerous. If anything, it’s a path guaranteed by the emperor himself. Don’t worry.”

“…Really?”

“Yes. I’ll return safely. As soon as possible.”

“I trust you.”

“Thank you.”

Since the issue was resolved so easily, Logan showed her the most trustworthy smile and firmly held Eileen’s hand.

Pff.

“What’s up with that foolish smile?”

“…”

It didn’t work as intended, but still.

Would the concern be limited to the women soldiers only?

Although he had entrusted any matters related to the knighthood to his father, it was necessary to also inspect the newly recruited soldiers.

‘The senior soldiers will have left for Taren, so the military discipline might have weakened…’

Yet, to Logan’s surprise and rendering his worries unnecessary, he received even more encouraging news at the soldier’s training ground.

“Awakening?”

“Yes. Among the first generation of soldiers you selected, five have awakened to the Force, including Trey and Adam. They are currently awaiting orders as apprentice knights.”

Logan’s smile broadened at Kaisolon’s words.

“In just 4 years?”

“Yes, that’s right. Your discernment is truly amazing, my lord.”

Even considering several wars and actual combat that forged the soldiers involuntarily, reducing the usual period for a talented soldier to become a knight by more than half had significant meaning. After all, they weren’t individuals with exceptional talent to begin with.

“Go straight away. I must see them. And have the soldiers assemble.”

“Yes!”

After checking on the awakened individuals and ensuring the survival of those chosen at that time, Logan couldn’t help but smile broadly.

‘It’s as I thought. I was right.’

Out of the initial thousand soldiers, just over five hundred remained. Among them, about a hundred had a meaningful level of inherent Force.

It was likely that many of them would become knights within a year or two.

“Great! Everyone has worked hard! A three-day rest from today!”

“Wow, hooray!”

Listening to the cheers of the soldiers, Logan smiled contentedly.

Yet, the thought that soon came to his mind weighed heavily on him again.

‘The empire is already recruiting soldiers across the country using that standard. Even though I have set a more detailed criterion…’

Would that be enough to meaningfully reduce the gap with the empire?

There were certainly ways.

“If it doesn’t work with our territory alone, then we’ll have to expand it to the entire kingdom.”

“What?”

“Oh, nothing. Good job, Kai. Make sure you get a generous bonus.”

“Thank you, Grand Duke!”

In the next five years, he must close the gap.

‘Everything’s going better than expected.’

With renewed resolve, Logan rekindled his determination.

* * *

“Getting straight back to work as soon as you’ve returned… You really do…”

As he returned to the manor, his father greeted him with a dry laugh of welcome.

“I’m sorry, father. I should have greeted you first…”

“No, it’s okay. It’s all work for the sake of the territory. Just make sure you take care of yourself while working. You’re the pillar of the territory.”

“It seems we don’t have much to worry about, thankfully, due to capable retainers. Things are proceeding better than expected, which is reassuring.”

“Your words sound ambiguous. Reassuring? Is something the matter?”

“…Hasn’t the news reached you?”

Somehow, everyone in the territory seemed unaware of the happenings in the capital.

As Logan clicked his tongue, his father asked with concern.

“What news are you talking about?”

“Never mind, I’ve been careless. Father, it seems I’ll have to make a trip to the capital of the empire soon.”

“What?!”

His father’s expression dramatically changed.

“…I’ve been invited by the Emperor himself. So it’s unavoidable.”

After telling his father about the capital’s events, he nodded in understanding.

“Yes. Since it’s the Emperor’s invitation, there should be no danger.”

“Isn’t any trip to the empire inherently dangerous? Especially if the empire is gearing up for war, as you say.”

“That’s why they can’t afford to touch me right now. It would be tantamount to a direct declaration of war.”

“Yes, considering your position in the kingdom right now…”

“Fortunately, things in the territory are going well, so I should be able to leave with a light heart.”

“That’s good then.”

His father nodded with a grave expression.

But Logan had no choice but to add something that would weigh even heavier on his father’s face.

“…Father, while I’m away, please make sure to keep an eye on the movements in the capital.”

“The capital?”

“Yes. Especially His Majesty’s actions.”

“Has something else happened?”

“It seems the King has come to find me bothersome.”

“What?”

As Logan continued, his father’s expression darkened as expected.

Yet Logan finally felt he had made all the necessary preparations, and with a soft sigh, he readied himself.

Just as the preparations for the trip to the empire were nearing completion, he unexpectedly received a message from Nox.

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