Regressor of the Fallen Family chapter 21

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“Can it be that there’s no one fit to command the mercenary troop?”

“…We do have someone, but since I created the mercenaries, I should be the one…”

“You are the firstborn of our family. Do you really desire to join the lower mercenaries on the battlefield and claim some feats for the enemy?”

The majority of those listening nodded in agreement with the head of the family’s scolding.

It was clear what they thought of the mercenaries.

But Logan remained unyielded.

“My role in the Order of Knights is not significant. It would be better for the overall war effort if I move separately with the mercenaries.”

“What?!”

Logan had initially planned to operate with his mercenaries during the territorial war.

With the repeating crossbow perfected and plans to join the Order only as a last resort no longer necessary, he continued his participation in the Order’s training for personal growth and future plans beyond the territorial war.

‘After all, my father commands the Order. It’s better for me to move with the mercenaries. At least they’d pretend to die if I told them to.’

Logan’s decision was logical from his perspective, but naturally, Patrick did not agree.

“Have you considered the negative impact it would have on our allies if you were to be captured or killed while moving with the mercenaries!”

“That won’t happen.”

“Is this some kind of child’s play to you? Do you think the lowly mercenaries you trained are an invincible force? Or are you too foolish to distinguish between reality and fantasy?!”

His last words were laced with tangible anger.

Patrick saw his son as naive, unable to grasp reality in an emergency, pushing only his own arguments.

Yet what would truly test his patience was yet to come.

“I am neither foolish nor ignorant of reality. I am merely seeking the place where I can exert my greatest strength.”

“Is that with your petty troupe of soldiers?”

“My mercenaries are not playing at war! We will prove our worth in this war and earn our merits.”

Logan’s eyes did not waver, but Patrick saw it as nothing more than a tantrum, fueling his anger further.

“…If that’s how you intend to proceed, from now on I will not think of you as my son. Even if you are captured or die in battle, you will be treated as unrelated to our family. Are you okay with that?”

Patrick’s extreme words shocked the retainers present.

Yet, the grand duke’s response was more surprising.

“That is fine with me.”

“…Must you really turn my insides out in such grave times? What are you thinking! Do you think everything will go your way! Are you so thoughtless!”

Patrick’s fury erupted, his red-faced outcry pouring over Logan.

“Go on. Do as you please. But remember this; in this war, you are not to expect treatment as a direct family member!”

“I will earn our merits.”

“Unbelievable…”

Perhaps due to the crisis, Patrick could not control his emotions any more than usual. Unfortunately, unsettling Patrick was not solely Logan’s doing.

“Master! Emergency!”

A servant barged in amid the family council.

It seemed impossible there could be anything more urgent than the war situation, but the news he brought was indeed startling.

“The Kairos family has informed us they will not send military support! They mention timing and financial liquidity, but…”

At those words, all eyes turned to Marianne.

She stammered, trying to make an excuse.

“There must be some sort of mistake. That can’t be true!”

Her voice rose with disbelief, yet the servant confirmed firmly.

“Sir Dwayne says it’s a matter repeatedly confirmed.”

Marianne’s face went pale.

“I will verify it myself!”

As she rose from her seat to leave hastily, a familiar bulky figure entered with a somber face, confirming the news.

“There’s no need, Lady. The Kairos family’s official refusal stands. They have also declared they will cut off financial support to our family, effective today.”

Dwayne’s words brought shock, met with silence rather than discussion of the grave financial implications.

The most pressing issue was the immediate absence of support troops, throwing the council into disarray.

“No! Can’t be!”

“Mother, calm down.”

“There must be some mistake! It’s a misunderstanding!”

“Mother!”

As Marianne rushed out, Ronian bit his lip and slumped into his seat.

Logan approached his disheartened brother and patted his shoulder.

“It’ll be okay. Everything will work out.”

“…Brother.”

Ronian couldn’t help but bow his head further, thinking his brother’s hopeful words were mere bravado amidst their desperate situation.

The shock from the Kairos family’s withdrawal was profound.

Other retainers muttered in confusion, unsure of how to proceed, simply watching the red-faced head of the family for cues.

Only one remained calm and collected.

‘So, it’s come to this, as expected.’

Logan knew from his past life that the Kairos family had refused to assist during the territorial war.

Whether there was a more significant reason or it was merely a line drawn, considering the estrangement that persisted even after Ronian rose to prominence as an Aura User, meant the ties were likely irreparable.

To Logan, however, it was all irrelevant.

‘With this, my stepmother won’t be able to wield the same influence as before. If we win the territorial war, there will be no more obstacles within the family.’

It was as if a troublesome hindrance had been cleared.

Logan fcountessly stepped forward.

“I shall go ahead and prepare. If there are further instructions, please contact me.”

His departure echoed hollowly, met with no response, but Logan’s stride was decisive.

* * *

“War… you say?”

“Yes. You don’t seem surprised.”

“Had there been no war, I would have desired to start one.”

“What horrendous words…”

“To have a weapon and wish to use it is a natural human desire.”

The mercenaries laughed heartily at Kai’s words.

Though accustomed to war, their confidence seemed excessive.

‘But rightfully so.’

The monster horde that invaded the McLaine’s estate last winter numbered only a tenth of the previous years.

Inside, it was dismissed as an anomaly, but Logan knew better.

‘Last winter’s monster horde was unprecedented.’

Most had been slaughtered by a mere 300 mercenaries.

Their self-assurance wasn’t arrogance but confidence borne from solid evidence.

“Let’s sweep away the enemies!”

“Yes!”

Amidst the unease within the McLaine family over the unexpected war, only 314 people were confident of victory.

* * * The war began countier than the McLaine family anticipated.

“Teslon’s forces have appeared at the western border! Sir Haman Teslon has been confirmed in the rear.”

“Those scoundrels disregarding all conventions…”

Only a day had passed since the declaration of war.

Teslon’s forces had already been sighted in McLaine territory.

Given that their main force would have left the Teslon holdfast, they must have set out the moment war was declared.

And the enemy’s numbers were staggering.

“There are over a hundred knights. Regular forces appear to number over a thousand!”

“Add to that around ten thousand drafted soldiers! It’s a total war commitment!”

“What?! Has that Haman gone mad?!”

As the shocking reports flooded in, Patrick’s outrage erupted.

This wasn’t an international conflict but a domestic territorial war.

Initiating a total war scenario with draftees from the attacking side was unheard of.

Even more so, knights, almost superhuman to the average person, constituted the primary combat force of the era.

Though numerous, draftees could only turn the tide of battle or slow down a defeat…

‘Haman Teslon must be out of his mind to want ‘that’.’

Even from Logan’s knowledge of the true cause of the war, this was astounding, sending the McLaine family into disarray.

“Crazy bastards. Drafting ten thousand? Have they squeezed out their own territory?”

“Over a hundred knights?!”

“When did they manage to…”

From a few dozen knights they knew of, the enemy’s lead force had swelled.

“That maniac Haman has staked the fate of his territory.”

Patrick ground his teeth.

“How is our status?”

“The Order of Knights—53 men ready.”

“Regular forces—552 men ready.”

“Draftees will need about a day more.”

“Logan’s mercenary troop—314 men ready.”

Ignoring his eldest son’s discouraging report, Patrick frowned.

‘Why, why!’

Even as proud as he was, Patrick knew his estate was no significant prize.

Wrapped in his thoughts amidst the enemy fast approaching, the reasoning behind it all felt irrelevant.

‘Get a grip, Patrick McLaine. Focus on what needs to be done.’

He encouraged himself, straightening his posture.

A noble house may have declined to a mere barony, but he was still a ruler.

He could not afford to show weakness or falter.

“Summon all men capable of bearing arms! We’ll meet them with full force!”

“Yes!”

“We march as soon as the troops are assembled! We’ll pulverize them daring to trespass on our front lawn!”

Even at maximum mobilization, McLaine’s forces barely numbered five thousand.

Excluding draftees, the knights and regular forces differed by a factor of two.

The disparity was dire.

Under such conditions, Patrick ordered an open-field battle rather than a defensive one.

Yet his retainers offered no objections.

‘It’s as before.’

Logan grimaced, listening to his father’s orders.

Despite the disadvantage in numbers, the choice for an open-field battle was inevitable.

At the time, knights, comprised of higher-level force users, represented the primary military might.

A group of such superhumans, well-armed, and formed into a phalanx, were nigh unstoppable to anyone but equals in strength.

McLaine’s robust yet magic-less walls stood no chance against such numbers of knights.

It was better to focus on a frontal engagement than face an unfavorable melee after a breach.

Moreover, the McLaine family had a particular ace up their sleeve.

Namely, the superior knight Patrick McLaine himself.

Few knights reached such a peak, and he was one of them.

Even middling force users, middling knights, could be considered the elite of a typical order.

A superior knight could take on over ten such elite fighters.

Thus, with their superior knight as head, the retainers believed they could at least match the Teslon knights despite being only half their number.

Territorial wars end either with the surrender or death of the ruling lord.

If Patrick, a superior knight, could capture or kill Haman Teslon, the conflict would conclude.

‘…That’s what they must be thinking.’

In a war between border territories where power clashed, it wasn’t entirely absurd to rely on simple tactics.

‘If I hadn’t known the family would fall…’

But this life was different from the past; Logan and his mercenary troop were present.

‘I will change the outcome. I must.’

While everyone else was busy, Logan clenched his fist, his eyes shining with resolve.

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