Regressor of the Fallen Family chapter 203

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Regressor of the Fallen family

Chapter 203: The Shock Left by Tris Hornsby

The shock left by Tris Hornsby was immense. Despite no physical injuries, it took three days before I was able to move properly. Furthermore, it required an additional week before I could reignite my fighting spirit to continue training and address that unfathomable technique. A superhuman effortlessly employing an unheard-of method – certainly stronger than my master, surpassing him by more than just a margin. The thought was unavoidably grim. If my sensation was accurate, he was a superhuman with a waning lifespan. Still, his displayed power was horrifying, and if his words held true, there were four more of such beings in the Empire, which inflated my fear.

“If you wish to learn, come to the Empire.”

That statement at the end, more potent than any lure offered by the Emperor, greatly pulled at my soul. However…

“I can overcome this. Eventually.”

The astonishing technique shown by the Continental First Sword clearly indicated the direction I needed to grow towards in the future. Thus, I was able to overcome the shock, shed the temptation, the lingering attachments.

“Absolutely!”

With that single thought, Logan continued his training in the secondary palace.

“The proper awakening will come after leaving the capital. For now…”

It was only after the agreed term with the Emperor had concluded that Logan first stepped outside the secondary palace. At the end of the spring festival. To inform the Emperor of my intent to return to the kingdom.

“Please deliver the message.”

Logan looked up with his red eyes at the door etched with a golden dragon. The final hurdle before leaving lay beyond that door.

“Grandian Knight Logan,” a voice ordered.

Creeeeak.

I faced the Emperor once more.

“Greetings, Your Imperial Majesty.”

The pressure emanating from the Emperor in his office, whom I hadn’t seen in three weeks, was as dominating as ever. The strange luster flickering in his black eyes was still unsettling, and his impassive expression only heightened the unease.

“Hmm. It’s been a while, Logan. Did you receive my gift well?”

The gift. Referring to Tris Hornsby’s strike.

A wry smile crept onto Logan’s face, unnoticed.

“Yes. It was a great help, thanks to you.”

At Logan’s response, the Emperor cracked a slight smile.

“Tris said you left quite an impression. So, have your thoughts changed?”

Impressive, indeed. An overstatement.

Remembering the embarrassment from that time, Logan felt a twinge of bitterness, yet his response came without delay.

“Thank you for the generous appraisal, Your Majesty, and I apologize. I still wish to remain a loyal subject of Grandia. The festival period has ended, so I’ve come to say I’ll be returning to the kingdom.”

“Hmm…?”

The Emperor’s smile was ambiguous in response to the firm answer.

Then he uttered the words Logan had feared.

“Did you know? In my entire life, I’ve never given up on anything I desired.”

An implied threat of never letting go.

Logan’s face tensed at the worst possible reaction he had anticipated.

Given there was no way to accede to the Emperor’s coercion, he resolutely responded.

“If that is the case, then it will only result in my death.”

“Huhuhu. Willing to die? Is your king that meaningful to you? You don’t seem like someone who would pledge loyalty blindly.”

The Emperor’s insight was inexplicable, hitting right at the core.

Yet Logan flinched. Seeing this, the Emperor smiled again.

“So, speak your heart. Whatever you desire, I shall grant more. Even what your king, your kingdom could never offer.”

The sovereign before me seemed to possess a strange, magnetic force. So potent that even Logan, resolute in his intent, began to waver, if only for a moment.

But Logan discarded the meaningless reluctance and reaffirmed his stand firmly.

“All I desire is freedom, Your Majesty.”

“Freedom? Not loyalty to the kingdom?”

Only sincere words could persuade this steadfast ruler with piercing eyes.

The aura of avarice in his gaze seemed to penetrate souls and knew no surrender.

Thus, Logan had no choice but to reveal a portion of his true sentiments.

“My king cannot force me. But you, Your Majesty, are different. That’s why I cannot remain in the Empire.”

“What? Hmph…hahahaha! So you’re saying you want to remain in the kingdom because you can manipulate your king as you please? Are you out of your mind?”

“Yes. That is so.”

“Hahahahaha! You’re more amusing than I thought. Haha, such madness…”

The Emperor’s laughter echoed in the office for some time after, perplexing both Logan, who had bowed his head, and the superhuman guards behind the Emperor.

Once the laughter subsided, an utterly unexpected statement spilled from the upturned corners of the Emperor’s mouth.

“Fine, I’ll let you go!”

An unexpectedly easy concession. Logan’s face showed a mix of surprise and relief, but the Emperor quickly added on.

“But, not without any conditions.”

Though unease crept in at the Emperor’s sly smile, Logan had no choice but to nod at the following words.

* * * The Emperor didn’t let Logan go just like that.

“I can’t allow it to be said that I treated my guest poorly. I’ve prepared some modest gifts.”

And those ‘modest’ gifts the Emperor sent were more than all the gifts from the nobles that had accumulated in the secondary palace.

Enough jewels and wealth to overflow five carbuncle-drawn carriages, a sum so vast it could easily dwarf the entire wealth of a mid-sized noble house of the Empire.

In the end, Logan and his party had to mount horses, escorting the five fully-loaded carriages like guards as they departed the capital.

It was bound to create a stir in the Empire, but what sparked even more debate among the imperial nobility was the artifact personally bestowed upon Logan, ‘the Divine Spaulder.’

His Imperial Majesty had gifted a fortification-type artifact to the envoy from Grandia.

The shoulder armor, adorned with enigmatic golden patterns, became a topic of interest for reasons beyond its value, due to the Emperor’s intention.

It was well known within the Empire that the Emperor only awarded armor to knights he held in high esteem.

The envoy from the kingdom was said to have received great favor from the Emperor.

Thus, it wasn’t too surprising when this rumor spread swiftly from the capital across the entire Empire.

Consequently, Logan couldn’t help but frown upon leaving the capital.

“It’s made things quite difficult. That man…”

“Are you concerned that we might be attacked by bandits?”

Tch.

It was a laughable notion. Any bandit daring to confront a party comprising aura users and knights would be a fool.

“The problem is being associated with this kind of rumor.”

“Huh?”

At Victor’s bemused query, Logan explained.

“I’m in trouble if it looks like I have a close relationship with the Emperor because I’ve received so much treasure, particularly an artifact with such symbolic significance.”

“Why is that a problem?”

The king.

Logan couldn’t bring himself to say it out loud but could only let out a rueful smile.

Of course, while the Emperor’s prank proved somewhat troublesome, the gains from the trip to the Empire far outweighed any ensuing issues.

‘It was worth coming to the Empire just to see the Emperor in person and learn of the existence of such superhumans.’

The image of the imposing Emperor and the undeniable skills of the extraordinary superhuman were invaluable experiences Logan could not trade for anything as he would have to confront them sooner or later.

Additionally, there was the unexpected boon – the treasure.

Woong.

The artifact named by the Emperor as the Divine Spaulder pulsed on Logan’s shoulder, a hum of existence.

– It’s an armor that won’t break even against aura. It’s simply sturdy, but for someone soon to be a superhuman like you, this kind of gear will be far better than any flimsy artifact.

The Emperor himself had explained this when he handed over the item.

But to Logan, from the moment of reception, the artifact felt strangely familiar.

Beyond the weak mana, a much larger presence seemed hidden.

Just like when he first held the Boots of Wind God from Bifrost and the Gauntlet of Herculean Strength, both named artifacts.

‘I never imagined I would come to possess such a thing.’

Upon infusing his force into the spaulder the instant he left the capital, its response was tremendous, and it drew in an incredible amount of his force, revealing its abilities without reservation.

‘Enhanced durability and increased healing abilities; a class-four shield spell and self-restoration.’

Encountering a third peculiar artifact resonating exclusively with his force felt like an odd connection.

While Bifrost and Kraune’s artifacts were secondary concerns, even the Emperor had failed to recognize their value, making them all the more special to Logan.

Although this artifact was revered as high value for its ability to withstand aura compared to the previously neglected items…

‘Are there more artifacts like these? Why do they only respond to me?’

Unknown for now, but since it was nothing bad, Logan donned the new armor readily.

Moreover, the rewards from this trip to the Empire weren’t limited to information on the Emperor and superhuman, nor merely an artifact.

Woong.

A golden, auspicious light bloomed from his fingertips.

This newfound power would become the key to withstanding the Empire’s immense latent strength and carving a path into the future.

“Sir Luther, I’ll need your guard for a while.”

“Hm? So suddenly?”

“I believe I’ll be able to show you something interesting soon.”

When Logan presented the luminous radiance of aura at his fingertips, Luther understood and his eyes widened.

“You… Could it be? Already?”

Logan simply nodded at those words laden with unsaid understanding.

As a result, the troupe set up camp unusually early on their first evening after departing the capital.

* * *

“Your Majesty, was it necessary to go that far?”

In the empty office, where Logan departed, a voice suddenly emerged from thin air.

Although it was unexpected for anyone, neither Leonard the Emperor’s personal guard nor the Emperor himself was taken aback.

“You think it excessive?”

Grinning at the unseen speaker, the Emperor received a response.

“The wealth you offered seems insignificant overall, but bestowing a fortification-type artifact might’ve been too much. It may affect the reputation you’ve built, sire. However inconsequential the artifact, such favor towards a knight from another country seems excessive.”

Criticizing the Emperor’s actions was rare among the imperial servants, yet the Emperor didn’t appear displeased.

“Not too much. Barely in his twenties, that young man possesses not just the brute force of a superhuman but also the spirit to confront me in the heart of the imperial palace. To break that will and someday have him serve me, such an investment is necessary. I’m declaring to the world that I have my sights set on him.”

“…He could still refuse you in the end, perhaps even become hostile to the Empire.”

“Then, if that time comes, we’ll just have to crush him.”

Displaying his distinct worldview from the rest, the Emperor’s expression showed only relaxation.

However…

“…The Second Prince seems to be meddling with Grandia. Considering his disposition, I worry that it might increase the likelihood of him opposing us.”

The Emperor cocked his head at the new information.

“Baros? That boy?”

“Yes, Your Majesty.”

“Hmm. That might be interesting.”

“Just going to watch?”

The Emperor replied nonchalantly with a faint smile.

“Young talents growing through conflict is natural. Let them be. However, do tell them to try and persuade Logan. It’s possible.”

“…Understood.”

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