Regressor of the Fallen Family chapter 201

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Regressor of the Fallen family

Episode 201

“I heard you stayed holed up in your lodging rather than enjoying the empire as I had told you to. That’s why I have personally sent for you. So, how does it feel?”

It would have been easier for both parties if he had just let me be.

But the truth inside could not be revealed.

“I am indebted to your magnanimity, Your Majesty.”

“That’s right. Seeing the vast world and experiencing it can change one’s perspective.”

“What can a bird trapped in a cage truly see and feel of the world? It’s nothing but suffocating.”

Logan’s sharp retort drew sharp gazes from those following the Emperor, but the Emperor himself only smirked.

“If you see it broadly, the cage is not the kingdom that restrains you, but rather the world itself. If you wish to soar the skies, you should come to a wider world.”

The gaze that the Emperor cast upon Logan remained friendly.

“Why are you so insistent on keeping me here? There are many under your command who are far more exceptional than me.”

“That may be so for now. Leonard here, for example, is nothing like the inept Jerome; he is certainly stronger than you.”

The Emperor’s words prompted the middle-aged knight following closely behind him to subtly lower his head.

Logan sensed a slight tension in the Emperor’s words.

“However, if we consider future potential, it must be you, without a doubt. Even Tris, who is now called the greatest swordsman of the continent, was not able to achieve as much at your age. You have the greatest potential of all I’ve seen.”

The sense of discomfort became clear with his exuberant praise.

The ‘superior individuals’ Logan had mentioned were not just in terms of martial power but encompassed all areas of talent, yet the Emperor’s response was focused solely on one criterion.

‘Extraordinary, individual might. The Emperor places combat prowess as the foremost criterion for talent.’

It was then that Logan truly believed the Emperor had invited him alone.

‘He has no interest in weapons used in the civil war of the kingdom?’

That thought brought a bitter smile to Logan’s face.

It was as if he had caught a glimpse of a vulnerability in the Emperor, a massive presence. Even if it was a momentary illusion, it felt like the compulsive anxiety that had been troubling him was fading a little.

“The future’s strongest is before us. How could I not covet such a prospect?”

Of course, the immediate goal was to remove the Emperor’s eager ambitions from his sight.

“The future is uncertain. Even Sir Jerome, just yesterday, seemed to possess endless potential.”

“Do you value one who has conquered themselves so highly? Heh, you’re growing on me more and more. With such an attitude, you’ll never be lazy.”

This stubbornness in the Emperor’s eyes appeared to be quite formidable.

“The Emperor is going so far for me…”

“Dare I even ask…”

“I’m envious…”

As the entire party hall’s attention focused on their conversation, Logan once more proclaimed his stance, loud enough for all to hear.

“Your Majesty, as I mentioned before, I cannot abandon my homeland as a pure-blooded Grandian. Please understand my humble wish to protect my country.”

“I’m not asking you to turn your back on your country. I’m asking you to come to me.”

What’s he on about now?

Logan suppressed his incredulity and continued.

“As the world’s owner, serving me would ultimately serve your kingdom, wouldn’t it?”

The Emperor continued with his arrogant assertion.

Through several wars, even while battered and worn, Grandia had never once subservient to the empire.

‘What twisted logic…!’

Logan felt a surge of anger but knew better than to express it openly; doing so would be akin to suicide. He calmly replied again.

“I’m already struggling to keep my own house in order. I regretfully must decline the grand offer.”

“Keeping a house in order?” Half-sincere, it was a genuine issue.

Yet the Emperor continued,

“Do not underplay yourself. In my eyes, your worth alone outshines the entire Grandian kingdom. I was not lying when I said that if you swear loyalty to me, you will hold more power than the King of Grandia.”

The Emperor’s valuation was exceedingly generous.

As the nobles watched their conversation in silent awe, their jaws dropped.

‘A single man better than a whole kingdom?’

Who else in the world would say such a thing and make it seem so convincing?

Stunned by the extravagant praise, Logan temporarily lost his words.

Lifting his head, his eyes met the Emperor’s once again, and he could see an unyielding determination not to let go of his desire.

The man who had never had to yield or find a reason to, throughout his life.

Could such a man with such a strong obsession over talent ever consider giving up his conquests?

‘A request to cease conquest in exchange for naturalization will not be heard. It would be lucky to avoid an inquisition instead.’

Seeing the Emperor’s eyes, Logan could finally let go of the faint hope that had lingered in his heart, the lingering thought that perhaps he had chosen a difficult path only because of a grudge from his past life.

‘If I naturalize, it will surely be to appoint me as the spearhead against my own kingdom.’

As he had previously surmised, that would be the surest way to fulfill his promise of land and power equivalent to a kingdom.

Solidifying his resolve, Logan looked into the Emperor’s eyes and with an unwavering voice replied,

“Your Majesty, I am truly sorry, but my kingdom and my family are my everything. Please understand my narrow-mindedness and withdraw your generous offer.”

As a collective gasp rippled through the surrounding crowd,

Smirking, the Emperor spoke,

“Take your time to think it over. After experiencing more of the empire’s greatness, perhaps your thoughts will change.”

“The young man from Grandia will be shown a vast world. Come, sit by my side.”

The Emperor began to press more actively.

In the Emperor’s hand was a bottle of liquor, said to bring purity and clarity of mind; a rare vintage only produced in the royal distillery, about one hundred bottles a year, comparable to a tonic for knights.

It was impossible to refuse the Emperor’s personally poured drink.

The admiring glances of standing knights weighing heavily on Logan, he reluctantly bowed his head in gratitude.

“…Thank you, Your Majesty.”

From the golden bottle, embellished with a dragon, emanated a faint magical aura only noticeable if one paid close attention.

‘A bottle that’s an artifact…’

Logan silently scoffed at this outrageous luxury and downed the drink in a single gulp.

Not one for liquor, he appeared unfazed, planning to gauge the Emperor’s reaction, but he was astonished by the euphoric fragrance and the sweetness that filled his mouth, and the cool, refreshing sensation that seemed to invigorate his entire body as it went down his throat.

It was not an exaggeration to say it was like a tonic to knights.

“Heh heh. Come, try this too. It’s a delicacy of the imperial palace, made from the haunch of a northern wild reindeer. A sophisticated preparation, I’m curious to see your reaction.”

The meat, marinated in a brown sauce and cut into bite-sized morsels, carried no game scent, only a fragrant aroma, capturing Logan’s attention.

Having already seen an artifact platter, it was unsurprising that even the sauce and meat emanated faint traces of mana.

‘Mages who cook, as well?’

The ridiculous waste of resources was almost beyond belief.

Even though the meal was delicious to an eye-opening degree, Logan couldn’t help but sigh.

His reaction prompted the Emperor to chuckle.

“Showing you the broad world doesn’t mean something grand. Look down there.”

Following the Emperor’s gesture, Logan saw numerous nobles of the empire glancing up at them from the party venue below.

Among them were imperial high nobles with power comparable to the King of Grandia, but most gazes held downright envy.

“Imagine all this becoming a natural part of your everyday life. It all depends on your choice,” said the Emperor.

What the Emperor meant was clear and indeed seductive.

But, all the more, Logan sobered up.

Even putting aside past grudges and current obligations,

‘A life lived only to serve the Emperor? And I of all people?’

He couldn’t help but chuckle.

A man frustrated with his own lacking skills, a maniac who fought endlessly for 20 years because he had lost his family and even the chance to atone.

A reckless man now barely keeping his family afloat and preparing to fight the empire.

Depending on the viewpoint, Logan could never be someone who settled for less.

The realizations brought calm to his mind.

Perhaps sensing the change in Logan’s gaze, the Emperor’s eyes narrowed, and an aged voice filled the space beneath them.

“Your Majesty, may I have a word?”

Turning, Logan saw a kindly-looking elderly man with white hair and a neat white beard.

“Hmm? Duke Travis, what’s it about?”

“I have an interesting tale about the Grandian Kingdom that might interest you, Your Majesty. If I may cautiously share it with you.”

“Grandia? Hoh? Speak, then.”

The Emperor’s glance momentarily swept over Logan before returning to the Duke, who looked at Logan with a meaningful gaze.

“The hero who quelled Grandia’s civil war, Sir Logan McLane, is someone whose name often reaches even our imperial capital. Amid those stories, there’s one peculiar tale.”

“A peculiar tale?”

“Yes. It is said that Sir Logan developed new and unique weapons to quell the war.”

“…Weapons?”

The Emperor’s face slightly contorted as the Duke quickly continued.

“Those weapons are so potent that I believe they could greatly benefit the empire.”

“And?”

“…I approached Sir Logan to discuss introducing those weapons to the empire.”

As the Emperor’s gaze turned icy, sweat beaded the Duke’s aged forehead.

“Irksome…”

With a clunking sound, the Emperor downed his cup, and the Duke paled.

“How dare you speak of business before my guest?”

“Please, I beg your pardon, Your Majesty! I was blinded by the prospect of contributing to the empire’s glory…”

Tsk.

“I understand your desire to serve the country. This once, I will forgive the impudence. Stay out of my sight for today.”

The Emperor cut him off with a brief click of his tongue.

While Logan was relieved that the Duke’s gaffe had taken the heat off him, he also realized the Emperor’s sheer authority, which could make even a nobleman of the Duke’s stature so anxious.

“I apologize for that unpleasant conversation. Logan McLane, enjoy yourself. Enjoy as much as you can, and when you have had your fill, I would like to hear your thoughts.”

“Your Majesty, I have sufficiently sensed the greatness of the empire through my brief experiences. However, that does not mean I intend to pledge allegiance to the empire…”

“Ha ha ha. There’s no rush. The festival is not yet over, and we can talk again after you have enjoyed the empire as I have said.”

One more thing to consider. No matter how gifted you are, that talent only becomes meaningful as you hone it against others of similar brilliance in a broader world.”

Holding an iridescent glass, the Emperor poured its contents into the largest, bowl-like cup.

“The bigger the cup, the more it holds. Think deeply about whether it’s truly in your best interest to let talent waste away in a small country. When you recognize its true worth, the way will be clear.”

In the Emperor’s words, Logan could clearly sense a difference in perspectives.

Someone who only saw themselves.

The Emperor’s magnificent generosity and overpowering presence perhaps concealed his limitations.

While unaware how much it would aid him in the future, Logan felt the looming shadow of the Emperor within him lessen slightly.

“Thank you for your deep concern, Your Majesty.”

And so, with an Emperor brimming with pride, Logan knew that even if he left after the festival’s end, he was unlikely to be held back.

Of course, a bit of anxiety remained.

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